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Hi everybody!

I am organizing a session on Networks, Culture, Interaction at this 
year's Networks in the Global World conference (NetGloW) at the State 
University of Saint Petersburg, June 22-24, 2022. We have invited talks 
by Justus van Uitermark (University of Amsterdam) and myself, and we're 
looking for talks that broadly cover the intersection of social networks 
with culture and / or interaction.

Hopefully we'll be able to convene in person and enjoy this lively and 
lovely city during the "White Nights" in the summer. In any case, there 
will be a hybrid version of the conference. You can find information on 
the conference and submit your abstracts here: 

Here is the session description:


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.

These advances have recently fed into the socio-semantic networks 
approach (Roth / Cointet 2010; see the Poetics Special Issue, 2020). 
Here, patterns of meaning are studied in their interrelation with 
networks of social relationships.

In a second line of research in relational sociology, social networks 
have been dissolved into processes of interaction, and reconstructed as 
patterns in this process (McFarland 2001; Gibson 2005; Mützel 2009; 
Kitts 2014; de Nooy 2015; Fuhse 2022). In this approach, social 
relationships and networks 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 (including socio-semantic networks), on the 
interplay of networks and interaction, or they can relate to both of 
these themes.


If you made it this far in the e-mail, you might also be interested in 
learning that I have a new book out on "Social Networks of Meaning and 
Communication". You can find information on the book here: 

While the title of the book sounds similar to that of the session, 
buying and reading it is NOT mandatory for taking part in our session 
(though highly recommended in general ...). The session is wider in 
scope and not tied to any particular perspective or method.

Hope to see you in St. Petersburg (or elsewhere),


Interim Professor
Institute of Sociology
Chemnitz University of Technology 
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