Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2011
Social network analysis has been one of the fastest growing and most influential areas of recent times. Why has this happened? What are the key features of social network analysis?
This sparkling Handbook offers an unrivalled resource. Systematically, it introduces readers to the key concepts, substantive topics, central methods, and prime debates. Among the specific areas covered are: Network theory; Interdisciplinary applications; Online networks; Corporate networks; Lobbying networks; Deviant networks; Measuring devices; Key Methodologies; Software applications
The result is a peerless resource for teachers and students. It offers a critical survey of the origins, basic issues and major debates. Instead of consulting a variety of books and journal articles, the Handbook offers a one-stop guide that will be used by readers for decades to come.
Chapter 2: Social Network Analysis: An Introduction
Social Network Analysis: An Introduction
Social network analysis takes as its starting point the premise that social life is created primarily and most importantly by relations and the patterns formed by these relations. Social networks are formally defined as a set of nodes (or network members) that are tied by one or more types of relations (Wasserman and Faust, 1994). Because network analysts consider these networks to be the primary building blocks of the social world, they not only collect unique types of data, but they begin their analyses from a fundamentally different perspective than that adopted by researchers drawing on individualist or attribute-based perspectives.
For example, a conventional approach to understanding high-innovation regions such as Silicon Valley would focus ...