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I'm not sure the definition of SNA is that tight.  There is a methodology, using mainly visualizations, math, and some other stuff.  There is also theory, such as social circles, social forces (homophily, proximity, etc), and tons of stuff.  I would argue that is SNA too.  

It is the development of social theory that should precede the development of mathematical techniques to test them.

Also, do not forget that many of the techniques developed in this manner find application in other non-social domains.

Ian McCulloh

On Aug 16, 2013, at 2:39 AM, John McCreery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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"Both issues point to the limits of using SNA other than as a methodology."

I agree, absolutely. To me SNA is a marvelous social microscope. It reveals structures in data to complex to parse with the naked eye. It does not explain what it shows us.

John


On Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 3:13 PM, Loet Leydesdorff <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear John,

 

It seems to me that there are two themes:

 

1. the bias in the data collection: one cannot ask so easily for latent relations; but psychologists may have developed smart strategies for this such as scales;

 

2. the data-analysis in SNA is focused on relations (graph-analysis) whereas relations may mean different things in terms of latent dimensions in the vector space.

 

Both issues point to the limits of using SNA other than as a methodology.

 

Best,

Loet

 


Loet Leydesdorff

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)

Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
[log in to unmask] ; http://www.leydesdorff.net/
Honorary Professor, SPRU, University of Sussex; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, Beijing;
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en 

 

From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John McCreery
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:14 PM
To: Loet Leydesdorff
Cc: [log in to unmask]


Subject: Re: What is an old/dormant strong tie?

 

Dear Loet,

 

I do not, for a moment, believe that relationships have only two dimensions. Most of mine, at least, are far more complicated than that. The (+1, 0, -1) coding is nothing more than a pointer to Simmel's classic observation that relationships can be positive, negative, or non-existent, i.e., friendly, hostile, or asocial, i.e., indifferent. Still, however, I retain my impression that much of the social network analysis to which I have been exposed displays that innocence I mentioned. 

 

Were I asked to explain why, I would hazard the speculation that network studies are fundamentally biased toward emphasizing the positive. Your work on citation networks and mine on teams that win ad contests share this bias: our data are derived from groups whose members have not only worked together, they have worked together successfully, thus their publications and awards. But what of the many whose projects have failed? I have seen numerous studies that begin with such questions as "Who are your friends?" "Would would you ask for advice?" "Who would you ask for help?" Though it may be my own ignorance, I cannot recall one in which the relevant questions were "Who are your enemies?" "Whose advice would you avoid like the plague?" or "Who would you never, ever turn to for help?" Yet these sorts of relationships are also part of social and organizational life.

 

But I freely admit I know very little. Nothing would please me more than a rush of citations proving me wrong.

 

John

 

 

 

On Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 3:15 PM, Loet Leydesdorff <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear John,

 

Why would there only be two dimensions? (+, -, 0). It seems to me that this design is also factor-analytical (positional). However, the factor-analysis would provide dimensions to the nodes (variables) and not to the interactions. Perhaps, one can use factor-scores for this.

 

The positional analysis assumes a vector-space that is constructed on the basis of the correlations (= distributions of relations). One can normalize the adjacency matrix using the cosine and then the network derived from that matrix represents the vector space. The vector space has a different topology from the network graph.

 

Best,

Loet

 

 


Loet Leydesdorff

Professor, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)

Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
[log in to unmask] ; http://www.leydesdorff.net/
Honorary Professor, SPRU, University of Sussex; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, Beijing;
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ych9gNYAAAAJ&hl=en 

 

From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John McCreery
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: What is an old/dormant strong tie?

 

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

Ian,

 

I look forward to reading Matt Brashears' work. In your description of it, I still detect, however, that innocence I mentioned in earlier posts. The relations envisioned are friends, spouses, strangers. What about rivals, enemies, estranged spouses, strangers regarded as potentially or inherently hostile? I recall Georg Simmel's observation that hostility is also a social relationship and that only indifference is truly asocial. We can capture that in signed networks (+, –, 0). Bashears appears to distinguish different types of positive relationships, but what about the negative ones? There is certainly some difference between, for example, mild distaste and murderous rage.

 

John

 

On Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 9:26 AM, Ian McCulloh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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I am disappointed that Matt Brashears has not commented on the tie strength issue.  I like his theories on tie strength so much I published it in my book.

 

Matt argues that there are several components to the strength of a tie, for example intimacy and frequency of contact.  He illustrates this with the example of an old friend (high intimacy, low frequency), a spouse (high intimacy, high frequency), a co-worker (low intimacy, high frequency), and a stranger (low intimacy, low frequency).  The tie strength is a diagonal line where the spouse quadrant is the strong tie and the stranger quadrant is a weak tie.  Strong ties often require more effort and resources to maintain and cultivate.  A person utilizes different dimensions of strength depending upon the nature of the need.  For example, if you need to borrow a few dollars for lunch, you won't ask an old friend in a different town.  You'd ask a co-worker.  If you were faced with a personal tragedy, you may not rely on a co-worker, but would call an old friend.  

 

Look for Matt's paper when he publishes it.  

 

As for John Maloney's point, I think the main idea was that there are people using SNA for pretty important things (military targeting, criminal investigations, etc) that don't really know what they are talking about.  Regardless of the specific point (tie strength, centrality, etc), I think he is totally right.  Perhaps we are at the point as an academic field, where we should consider certifications.  Should there be some kind of certification process for practitioners?  We require certification for teachers, lawyers, medical doctors, even hair stylists.  If people in government are going to use SNA for military targeting and criminal investigation, I think it would be a good idea to certify them to make sure they know what they are doing.

 

ian

 

On Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 5:11 PM, John McCreery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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Dan, 

 

I just downloaded your dissertation and read the introduction. You have me hooked. Both as an advertising copywriter and as a veteran of several volunteer organizations mired in old divisions and quarrels, I responded instantly to your title "Ghosts of Organization Past." The introduction has drawn me in. Yes, yes, yes....I find my head nodding yes over and over again as I read. 

 

You point to another important aspect of real world social networks that distinguish them from the mathematical models we construct based on random graphs that mirror free market assumptions. I am tempted to call it innocence. We chatter on about homophily and brokerage, for example, without considering the social debris, old quarrels, grudges, unhealed wounds, etc., that affect how ties are may or may not be activated and, perhaps more important, how they will be activated—in warm support, chilly alliance, bitter factionalism or vendetta.  Not saying the models are wrong. The math works really well. What it has to do with the messiness of real life and real politics? That is an interesting question, indeed.

 

John

 

 

On Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 5:01 AM, Dan Ryan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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I wrote about broken ties and such as "social organizational junk" and urban communities as "organizational junk yards" in my "Ghosts of Organization Past" (http://bit.ly/16llywd -- currently under review) -- idea being that organizations and networks don't really go away when they die.  Instead they degrade over time, but have the potential for "re-animation" when new resources appear and can be either obstacles or opportunities to new organizing/intervention efforts.  A related concept of the down-side of connection was "network noise" that happens when perturbations meander across networks (when bad planning on your part becomes and an emergency for me, whether I like it or not).


Dan

----

Kathryn P. Hannam Associate Professor, teaching in sociology and public policy

Mills College, Oakland, CA.

 

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--
John McCreery
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_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

 

_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.



 

--
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
[log in to unmask]
http://www.wordworks.jp/

_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.



 

--
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
[log in to unmask]
http://www.wordworks.jp/




--
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
[log in to unmask]
http://www.wordworks.jp/
_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.