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Dear Socnetters,

The session on ‘Networks in Art: Practice and Structure, Meanings and Interactions’ at the conference “Networks in the Global World” 2018, St. Petersburg, July 4-6, collects abstracts until January 29.

To participate in the session, please, submit your abstract ​of up to 300 words online here:, and choose ‘Networks in Art: Practice and Structure, Meanings and Interactions’ in the list of sessions.

Note that the conference organizers will cover accommodation​ ​of​ ​MA​ ​and​ ​PhD​ ​students​ who submitted the best abstracts.

See conference general call for papers here:

Session description

From a pragmatic point of view, art is a collective act opposed to individual practice. The social nature of art has been addressed from different standpoints: from revealing how new styles in art emerge due to changes in its institutional structure (White & White 1965), to showing power relations in the art field (Bourdieu 1983). Also, by defining the conventionally organized operations in the art world (Becker 1983) and arguing the importance of everyday interactions and friendly dynamics in creative collaborative circles (Farrell, 2003, Collins, 2015). Network analysis is a powerful tool to capture the multiplicity of these relations in art.

Network analysis has been extensively used to develop Bourdieu’s and Becker’s elaborations on the social structure of art: network effects of positions were found in the space of cultural production (Muntanyola & Lozares, 2006; Crossley 2009; Bottero and Crossley 2011); formation of evaluative categories and artistic judgements have been studied (de Nooy 2009); artistic careers have been taken as trajectories through professional institutions and events (Giuffre 1999, Moureau & Zenou, 2014); and creative performance has been shown as an effect of the small world structure (Uzzi & Spiro 2005). The session welcomes papers continuing the work from within these established frameworks.

Network analysis also allows to empirically locate and relate artistic practices and operationalize concepts of focused interaction (Goffman 1961), artful practices (Garfinkel 1967), and habitus (Bourdieu 1980; Wacquant 2015). Applied to textual data network analysis, it provides tools to study how meanings emerge from interactions between artists. Network analysis can be used to capture the material embeddedness of artistic practice in the immediate settings of studios (Farias & Wilkie 2016), local buzz (Currid & Williams 2009) and networked complexity of a ‘creative’ city (Comunian 2011). Network analysis can also capture the positions of artworks in structures of relations between actors, while the former are collaboratively created through embodied and materially embedded communication (Albertsen & Diken 2004). Studying the composition of art networks in connection to public participation reveals possibilities for social empowerment through art, and shows ways to implement principles of relational aesthetics (Bourriaud 1998). We welcome papers that adopt network analysis to study the variety of phenomena in art including those proposing alternative perspectives.

This is a thematic session, so the methodological options are multiple. Particularly encouraged are papers on methodology and applications of multimodal network analysis, including those studying the duality - for example, of places / events and artists, social and cultural structures, actors and objects - in artistic settings. This session will put together papers that are empirically sound with the detailed interactions that make the rehearsal a material context for action. We also expect papers on both micro and macro scale studies of social relations between individuals, institutions or meanings.


with best regards, session co-chairs

Aleksandra Nenko, ITMO University

Margarita Kuleva, Higher School of Economics

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