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.
This chapter is about network theory, which in general usage can refer to several different kinds of ideas. For example, both a theory of tie formation and a theory of the advantages of social capital could be considered network theory. In the tie formation case, network properties serve as the dependent variable, and the theory concerns the antecedents of network phenomena. In the social capital case, the network construct is the independent variable, and the theory considers the consequences of network phenomena. We distinguish between the two kinds of theory by referring to the first (on antecedents) as theory of networks and the second (on consequences) as network theory.1 The focus of this chapter is on network theory, which ...