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Hi everybody!

I am organizing a session on "Networks, Culture, Interaction" at the next year's Sunbelt in Utrecht (

If you're working in the subject area, please consider submitting your work to the session. Find the extended call for abstracts below, and please contact me with any questions!



Networks, Culture, Interaction

Relational sociology conceptualizes social networks as interwoven with culture and as negotiated and changing in interaction. The session gathers presentations that follow this lead and investigate the connections of social networks with culture and / or interaction, both conceptually and empirically.

Starting with the work of Harrison White, relational sociology has come to treat networks not as a-cultural structures, but as patterns of relationships that variously build on, and incorporate cultural forms (Emirbayer / Goodwin 1994; Fuhse 2009; Pachucki / Breiger 2010; Mische 2011). In turn, culture is diffused and negotiated in social networks. We can examine this interplay in three ways (McLean 2017):

-       - Culture affects networks patterns, when these follow institutionalized roles, social categories, or models for social relationships (e.g. love, friendship, caste, patronage).

-       - Networks make for the diffusion and reproduction of cultural forms. This results in the stabilization of socio-cultural constellations with cultural beliefs and life-styles resting on cohesive network clusters, and with cultural differences between these.

-       - Networks are themselves infused with meaning, with identities connected to each other through narratives, with network positions corresponding to social roles, coming with particular communication styles.

More recently, social networks have been dissolved into processes of interaction, and reconstructed as patterns in this process (McFarland 2001; Gibson 2005; Muetzel 2009; Fuhse 2015). Social relationships and networks thus consist of regularities in communicative events, stabilizing, reproducing, and changing over their sequence. Rather than studying networks as clear-cut, stable arrangements of ties, we have to observe the sequential and relational ordering of communicative events (Butts 2008; Kossinets / Watts 2009; de Nooy 2011). This can entail (a) discerning relational micro-dynamics like reciprocity, transitivity, and preferential attachment that make for the tendencies to form different kinds of network patterns. (b) We can examine the network as the distribution of events by ties changing across time periods (e.g. Papachristos 2009). (c) The cultural imprint of processes in networks and the negotiation of identities and relationships can be studied qualitatively, with a focus on signals, vocabularies, communication styles, and other linguistic forms (McLean 1998; Mische 2008).

A wide variety of conceptual, methodological and empirical contributions is invited for the session. Presentations can focus on the nexus of networks and culture, on the interplay of networks and interaction, or they can relate to both of these themes. If you’re interested please submit abstracts in the Sunbelt online submission system ( until February 1, 2018, indicating “Networks, Culture, Interaction” as the preferred session. In addition, please send your abstract directly to [log in to unmask].

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