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 30: Relation Algebras and Social Networks

Relation Algebras and Social Networks

Relation algebras and social networks


Algebraic approaches have played an important historical role in formulating conceptions of structure and structural change in networks. In this chapter, I outline some of the algebraic constructions that have informed an understanding of structure in social networks and argue that these constructions make what are termed relation algebras a natural framework for algebraic network analysis. I describe a number of ways in which this algebraic characterisation of networks may be useful for network analysis and discuss some contemporary challenges for which it is likely to be particularly well suited.

Why Are Algebraic Models of Interest?

Social networks are generally construed as discrete entities, describing a pattern of social relations among a particular set of actors at a ...

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