SOC355Y1- LECTURE NOVEMBER 2, 2010
Last week you learned:
• Knowing networks and core networks are important
• Knowing networks are bigger than core networks. A lot bigger.
• People meet people in settings where they do things with other people (foci).
This is bound to create transitivity.
• Foci are homogenous, so relationships created in foci are often homophilous.
• Don’t be a lazy sample critic. Think about your critique.
• Reading research articles
• Community and Networks
• Core Network Size over time
• Are networks shrinking?
- What you should be taking back from articles…
What is the conversation he is having: What is the Community Question?
- About the idea of community and it is a question.
- The question is: “How size and density of networks have changed, on the
theoretical level it is about how community has changed with
industrialization and modernization”
- Good old days Wellman argues that they are kind of imaginary. They are
what we think networks were like in some ideal past world. Example:
grandparents… imagining things used to be different. To some extent it
is imaginary but we do use it to contrast.
- Scholars before Wellman (the conversation he is joining, what is he
responding to?) – he is responding to whether communities are lost,
saved or liberated. He argued that before scholars said community is
lost. (These are his key concepts)
- COMMUNITY LOST: dystopian view that once we have great communities
of people around us, people know everyone and all get along. Neighbours
are always there for you. But now (the lost part) no one talks to anyone,
lock doors, neighbours do not talk to anyone… We no longer have
relations with one another where there is no more community. Wellman
argues this is the predominant argument going around scholars at one
point. - COMMUNITY SAVED- said the opposite from lost, still talk to
neighbours, everyone is fine, just like the good old days.
- COMMUNITY LIBERATED- to understand you need to take a step
backwards and understand what community is. What is community
according to Wellman?
According to previous scholars, community was a
neighbourhood area where people help out and get things
done. That version is the version Wellman is arguing against
in that it is very much built on place. People in the place do
something for one another. Wellman does something
dramatically different (not new anymore but) he says the
point of community is not place but rather stuff is getting
done for people, people are receiving support, community is
who fills people’s needs. People who fill your needs might not
be right there though, it would mean each of us have their
own community. People who fill your needs are your
Personal community: those around you who provide you
with support and fill your needs. There might be overlap with
some people but mostly everyone has own needs. This is an
ego-network! Each of our ego-network is our personal
community according to Wellman. It is not about a
o This is a monumental change in the way we study community!
o Takes a concept that existed in a long time in sociology and says
well how can you think of this as a network! And if you think of it
as a network what changes!? Wellman’s article! All about
- We can start thinking of how they differ! The three above are ideal types
of community: community lost saved and liberated
- An ideal type is ideal not in the sense that it is the best type but it means
it is an imaginary type, an idea type, and the ideal type is the one of that
type that has all the characteristics of perfectly meeting the criteria of
that type. Ex. Weber came up with study of Protestants. Held Benjamin
Franklin as an ideal type Protestant of the time. Benjamin had all the
characteristics he argued were intrinsic to an ideal Protestant.
- What do these networks look like? Community Lost
o Ego- will be small, sparse (opposite of dense), and there will not be
a lot of help or support. People are isolated alone against the
o Like the networks in the good old days. They were dense and had a
lot of ties, lots of people and all knew one another. They were
dense and multiplex- each person provides multiple types of social
support. (Lends sugar, will help with children, helps fix roof, hang
out, lend money etc.) Everyone knows everyone generally and
people will provide support
o There are ties with bridging, ties not all connected to one another
There is mid-level of density, good number of ties (not huge
though) Ties are specialized, example: friends from school help you
understand something but do not drive you to the hospital in the
middle of the night if you are sick. There are some bridges across
clusters but different ties are specialized on different kinds of
social support. People do get social support but only from
- Wellman made this argument: literature takes the two ideas (lost and
saved) and argue back and forth, he will redefine community as personal
community and add the concept of community liberated. Then talks
about how they would look like in idealized forms.
Methods- According to Wellman (1969)
- East York- working class neighbourhood, mostly white but not just but
hugely Anglo. “”English-Irish, Scottish, Welsh” – various combinations
back then. This was the data back then! (from U.K)
- Wellman measures their networks. He does this by using name
generators, interviewing. A name generator is a way of getting someone’s
ego network and asking who provides social support. He looks at each
network and asks how do they compare to the ideal types he drew, which
one do they look most alike?
- Wellman found in East York- a little saved and mostly liberated. He
argues based on this that communities are mostly liberated and a little
saved but no evidence for community lost. If you think of community as
local neighbourhoods that would mean something different but Wellman
defined them as networks providing support. McPherson Smith Lovin and Brashears.
- What conversation are they joining? They are looking at how networks
change over time. They talked about what networks were like in 1985 but
they do not analyze data because it was already analyzed in Marsden
1987 which analyzed 1995. McPherson does this with 2004 data from
the GSS which is a nationally representative sample using same