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I found this introductory assertion in Ted G. Lewis' "Network Science:
Theory and Applications" a draw-dropping example of disciplinary self-focus
bias and/or chauvinism.

pg. 5: "The history of network science is divided into three periods: (1)
early pre-network period (1736-1966), when network science was really the
mathematics of graphs; (2) a meso-network period (1967-1998), when network
science was not yet called "the new science of networks," but in fact
applications of networks were emerging from the research literature; and (3)
*the modern period (1998-present), when the pioneers of he current
definition of network science set forth the fundamentals and showed that
they fundamentals had meaning in the real world*."

A "Historical Timeline of Significant Events" (pp. 2-3) suggests that this
meso-network "dark ages" before 1998 includes non-mathematicians/physicists
like Milgram, Granovetter, and Bonacich. Evidently individuals like Barnes,
Bavelas, Bernard, Burt, Faust, Freeman, Kadushin, Killworth, Krackhardt,
Lazardsfeld, Marsden, Monge, Rogers, Wasserman, Wellman, and least of all
White did nothing to "set forth fundamentals for network analysis or show
these fundamentals had meaning in the real world."

This is certainly not to denigrate the very important contributions from our
colleagues in mathematics and physics nor am I implying an ulterior motive
on the part of Lewis, but to suggest that network analysis did not exist
before Barabasi, Watts, and Strogatz seems to reveal a fundamental ignorance
about the origins and influences of a quintessentially interdisciplinary
field. Have other people encountered such statements in the past? Is the
perspective that "network analysis didn't exist until physicists got around
to inventing it" pervasive?

--
Brian C. Keegan
Ph.D. Student - Media, Technology, & Society
School of Communication, Northwestern University

Science of Networks in Communities, Laboratory for Collaborative Technology

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