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The Development of Social Network Analysis: A Study in the Sociology of Science Paperback – July 23, 2004
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About the Author
Linton C. Freeman, is a Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and in the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He began working in social network analysis in 1958 when he directed a structural study of community decision-making in Syracuse, New York. In 1978 he founded the journal, Social Networks.
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Freeman develops an analytical model that he uses to analyze contributions from Compt (structuralist) to Wellman (unification) to the development of social network analysis. The four components of this model are:
"1. Social network analysis is motivated by a structural intuition based on ties linking social actors,
2. It is grounded in systematic empirical data,
3. It draws heavily on graphic imagery, and
4. It relies on the use of mathematical and/or computational models" (p. 3).
He finds that early structuralists contributed mostly at intuitive, empirical levels of analysis, leaving graphic representation and mathematical treatment to later generations. These early structuralists included Compt, Tönnies, Durkheim, Spencer, Cooley, LeBon, and Simmel. More systematic early contributions were made by Morgan, Macfarlane, Hobson, Calton, and Watson.
Freeman continues with the rise and decline of two schools of thought spearheaded in the 1930's by Moreno and lead by W. Lloyd Warner at Harvard. These schools began to contribute at the more formal graphic levels of analysis. After this period of awareness, in the Dark Ages (the '40s, '50s and '60s), twelve nearly independent schools of thought reemerged, blossomed for a time and then withered. They emerged both in parallel and in sequence. It was the Renaissance at Harvard led by Harrison C. White and his students who contributed to the diffusion of social network analysis by their academic moves and associations.
Freeman follows this trail meticulously through associations, academic meetings, creation of an organization, and a journal. This trail leads to the modern integration of social network analysis.
"There seemed to nave been eight ways in which various individuals and institutions acted as integrators: (1) Some moved from place to place and in so doing, bridged diverse collections of social network scholars. (2) Some produced computer programs that standardized the analysis of social network data. (3) Some organized conferences designed explicitly to bring previously separate groups together. (4) One created an organization designed explicitly to link social network researchers worldwide. (5) One started a journal aimed at centering the literature in the field. (6) One arranged to use an early kind of internet to connect people doing social network research. (7) Working together, some established a series of regular annual meetings. (8) And finally, UCI, the University of California at Irvine, played a special role in unifying the social network community" (P. 136).
Noteworthy is Barry Wellman whose energy brought about this integration. He organized INSNA, The International Network for Social Network Analysis, active since 1981; begun publishing its newsletter, CONNECTIONS; and in association with Freeman, the first editor, began publishing the Social Networks: An International Journal of Structural Analysis on August 1978.
Freeman further organizes this vast volume of material in the development of this tradition into a multidimensional social network both crossectional to a particular decade and longitudinal over the duration of 170 years. He follows the links of who associated with whom, who taught whom, who moved where, who cited whom, who met whom at professional meetings, and who were the independent inventors. This small book is large in scope. It provides a rich source of names, publications, and institutions for anyone interested in becoming knowledgeable in the diffusion and evolution of social network analysis.
Roland Werner, Social Systems Simulation Group, PO Box 6904, San Diego, CA 92166-0904, 619-660-1603, [...] E-mail: email@example.com.
Davor Jedlicka, PhD.
Professor of Sociology
The University of Texas at Tyler