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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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