An Introduction to Structural Analysis. The Network Approach by S. D. Berkowitz

By S. D. Berkowitz

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Extra info for An Introduction to Structural Analysis. The Network Approach to Social Research

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By comparing these two graphic forms of the same data, and their corresponding matrices, it is often possible—as Ronald Breiger noted in his paper, "The Duality of Persons and Groups"—to uncover otherwise unnoticed aspects of the interdependence of the organization of social groups and the processes through which individual ties are formed. 34 If one of the "households" in our example, for instance, had been a college fraternity, its unusual centrality might have provided us with a clue as to how other attachments in the graph had been formed.

Part of the difficulty here is that "kin-term usage" and actual kinship are not the same thing (many of us have great-aunts or great-uncles we refer to simply as "aunt" or "uncle"). Part of it, no doubt, has to do with historic dimensions which play an important role in how actual groups come to adopt and use this terminology. In "real world" cases where the clan structure embodied in kinship terminology is well defined, however, White's formal models and observed data closely approximate one another.

STRUCTURAL MODELS OF SYSTEMS OF INTERPERSONAL TIES Before taking up more recent structuralist studies of interpersonal relations, let us clarify some of these methodological issues. Up to this point, when we talked about nodes, relations, graphs, patterns of ties, and so on, it was not necessary, in most cases, to do this very formally. Most people intuitively grasp these concepts without actually having to visualize a network in detail. This approach is more difficult to sustain, however, when dealing with subtle differences in the ways in which these ideas may be used.

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