Article

Social Networks

David Knoke

in Sociology

ISBN: 9780199756384
Published online July 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0051
Social Networks

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Social network analysis comprise theories and methods of investigating structural relations among social actors and explaining social outcomes as the result of connections at the individual, subgroup, and complete network levels of analysis. Originating in social psychology, small group studies, and anthropology in the middle of the 20th century, the network perspective blossomed in the 1970s through a convergence between theoretical interests in structural sociology and proliferating computer programs capable of analyzing network data using matrix algebra techniques. The numbers of publications, research projects, and academic programs grew exponentially in the decades since the 1970s as virtually all basic and applied social science disciplines discovered the relevance of structural relations to their intellectual concerns. The micro-level foundations of social networks are concerned with people choosing to interact with one another in various ways, from forming friendships and exchanging information, to giving advice and assistance, to political and sexual relations. Such small-scale decisions aggregate to more meso-level social structures that can hinder or facilitate collective action by groups and organizations, such as athletic team performance or work group productivity. At the most macro-levels of analysis, the structures and actions of national economies and international systems of sovereign nations can be explained with the conceptual and empirical tools provided by social network analysis. This online bibliography takes a predominantly historical approach to the development of social network analysis, emphasizing the key theoretical, methodological, and substantive publications with which most aspiring networkers should familiarize themselves.

Article.  14302 words. 

Subjects: Sociology ; Comparative and Historical Sociology ; Economic Sociology ; Gender and Sexuality ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Population and Demography ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Movements and Social Change ; Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility ; Social Theory

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