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.

Cultural Networks

Cultural networks

Forty years ago, this chapter's title might have seemed oxymoronic. Early network analysis was rooted in social psychology (sociometry) or in a radical structuralism (blockmodeling) that viewed culture as a fog obscuring social reality, rather than as a legitimate analytic category (Freeman, 2004; White et al., 1976).1 For their part, cultural analysts either defined culture so broadly that it encompassed all patterned behavior and symbol systems (anthropologists) or so abstractly that it resisted empirical research (Parsonsian sociologists). Even communications scholars who used network analysis to understand information flows largely avoided questions of meaning central to the study of culture (Rogers, 1962).

Things have changed. Developments in both social network analysis (SNA) and the study of culture have brought these fields closer together. As ...

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