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Anuška Ferligoj, Patrick Doreian & Vladimir Batagelj

In: The SAGE Handbook of Social Network Analysis

Chapter 29: Positions and Roles

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Positions and Roles
Positions and roles
AnuškaFerligoj, PatrickDoreian, and VladimirBatagelj

We start our chapter with a discussion of social systems composed of positions and roles. This is followed by a set of methods for identifying positions and roles and for delineating social network structures. We finish by listing some important open problems that require solutions, so that we can better understand the structure and operation of role systems.


The paired concepts of positions and roles are staples among social science terms. Intuitively, the idea of a position is a location in some social structure and a role has a set of expected behaviors corresponding to the location (e.g., Faust and Wasserman, 1992). Given a family as a social system, a parent is a location and the parental role ...

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