Patterns of interpersonal relationships among individuals based on face-to-face interaction and/or mediated communication. The concept of social networks was introduced by Radcliffe-Brown in 1940. Such networks (based on links rather than individuals) emerge from interaction and can cut across and influence institutions; they can also shape individual behaviour. In sociology and anthropology, kinship and friendship networks have been a key focus; the advent of the internet has stimulated the concept of network societies. See also cohesion; communication networks; diffusion; exchange theory; group communication; group identification; information flow; in-group; network analysis; peer group; primary and secondary groups; reference group; social structure; sociogram; strong ties; two-step flow; weak ties; compare space of flows.
Subjects: Media Studies.