Sociology | Advanced Topics
S660 | 20379 | Pescosolido

Topic:  Social Networks

	Perhaps the single thing that sociologists agree on is the central
importance of social interaction as the building block of social life.
From Georg Simmel on, terms like social networks, social integration
and social capital have been used to conceptualize and operationalize
this fundamental component in sociological research.  These various
terms, combined with other conceptual issues and difficulties in
empirically translating the whole notion of “networks” in actual
research, presents a continuing dilemma for sociologists.  We will
take a historical journey through the development of network theory
and analysis.  This course traces the development of network thinking
from Simmel’s “social circles” to Durkheim’s inductive
conceptualization through “sociometry”, some small group research of
the 1950s and 60s, the advent of “blockmodeling” in the 70s, and
ending with recent work since that time.  In sum, the goals of this
course are to provide students with 1) a solid introduction to network
thinking in its various guises, 2) an understanding of key themes in
the history of network analysis and the relationship to theory
development, 3) an appreciation for some of the important connections
between network analysis, theory and more general issues in social
research and 4) to provide some hands-on experience with the methods,
analytic techniques, opportunities and limitations in bringing this
approach to empirical research.