Lecture 1 Notes
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SOC355Y1 – Structural Analysis
Tuesday September 14, 2010
Things you already know:
•Sociologists study the social world from different perspectives
•Perspectives - also called paradigms and sometimes compared to lenses shape questions, concepts and
•Social network analysis- like paradigms such as functionalism
•SOC200 you learned about research methods- underlying theme: assumptions we make about t he world
(paradigms theories) affect what researchers methods are appropriate to the question we ask.
•Social network analysis has fitting methods and assumptions, argue that it is not about types of people but
about people in different positions
--The course in context
•What makes “structural analysis” different?
-They argue it is not about types of people, attributes but rather peoples position in a social str ucture.
The social structure is the pattern of relations between people. Therefore if you do something it is not
about attr i but es or age or sex but rather about how you are a person with particular relations with
others. The attributes do matter though because women tend to be in different network positions than
men. Women have more kin based networks while men have more work based networks. As women
and men mar r y, women pull more kin into network and less work based ties. Thus a pattern of relations
and not gender itself that causes differences.
-Relations matter (to social network analysts)
-Statistics- always start with a sample… estimate probability of something being true. Therefore
samples must be independent.
-This course- we say screw independence, we want dependence/ relations. – A relation means a
dependence! Therefore no independence.
-You cannot do quantitative methods with networks. This is why we need all the survey methods to
understand how the world works. Dependence=correlated
-Social Network theory (first half of course) Methods (Second part) Social network analysis studying
topics (third part of course/bulk of course- what do you see when you look at health)
•How do networks vary?
Placement of nodes is arbitrary
-Density- how many ties that could be t here are there? – 100% density everyone knowing e ach other 0%
density no one knows anyone else
-#1 Size- most important matter
-Networks vary from one another* - How do we measure density, size etc.?
-Nodes : little dots, not connected to any other node is an isolate. Nodes may be people, organizations,
households, webpages (social because socially created), articles, and the relations. Anything that can
connect two nodes is a relation. Usually a network is one relation at a time.
-Network : set of socially relevant units called nodes and the connections between them called relations.
Usually one relation at a time. Disliking relationship- who dislikes who in a network?
-Example: network of who has had dinner together in past few months? The individual node the isolate,
has not had a relation with any other nodes therefore not had dinner with anyone else.
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