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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:

http://ngw.spbu.ru

Here is the session description:

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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.

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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:

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/social-networks-of-meaning-and-communication-9780190275433

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),

Jan

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Interim Professor
Institute of Sociology
Chemnitz University of Technology
www.janfuhse.de
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