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.

Positions and Roles

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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