The social fabric through social network analysis

Echipa proiectului iCoNiC a propus spre organizare în cadrul Conferinței internaționale a Societății Sociologilor din România, panelul The social fabric through social network analysis. Acest panel, coordonat de Marian-Gabriel Hâncean și Bianca-Elena Mihăilă (membri ai echipei iconic) a fost acceptat de către organizatorii conferinței pentru a fi organizat. Mai jos este disponibilă descrierea panelului. Din cauza pandemiei COVID19, Conferința internațională a Societății Sociologilor din România (Curators and actors of the social fabric), programată inițial pentru anul 2020, a fost reprogramată pentru 2021. Detalii pe site-ul conferinței https://conf2020.societateasociologilor.ro/panels/.

It has been long recognized the power of social network analysis to disentangle and unveil the patterning of human interaction. Our session builds on the idea that the social fabric plays a key role in the lives of individuals who display it. This session invites contributions from researchers who are currently employing social network theories, methods or tools (qualitative, quantitative or mixed) in their research work. Specifically, we welcome presentations focused either on research designs intended to facilitate the analysis of structural (relational) data, or on theoretical frameworks meant to provide valuable insights about the human life embedded in the multi-layered webs of social connections. This session is interested in receiving presentation proposals within the following areas (but not limited to it): migration, science of science, political networks, public policy and corruption, organizational behaviour, intra- and inter- organizational networks, social support, health studies, diffusion processes, large data visualization. We encourage the entire spectrum of submissions from on-line to off-line data and processes, from ego-centric and socio-centric to personal network analysis approaches, from ethnographic stances to complex system analyses. (Panelul The social fabric through social network analysis, Conferința Societății Sociologilor din România, CURATORS AND ACTORS OF THE SOCIAL FABRIC)

SoNAR 2019 international workshop

The international workshop Social Network Analysis in Romania – SoNAR 2019 is organized by the Research Group on Graphs and Social Networks (GraphNets – an interdisciplinary research group of the University of Bucharest).

SoNAR 2019 is the third scientific event focused on social network analysis and organized by GraphNets, in Romania. In 2017, GraphNets, in collaboration with the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest and the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), organized the international workshop on Graphs, networks and digital humanities. In 2018, GraphNets organized the international workshop Analyzing multiple networks from diverse perspectivesthe workshops took place in Timișoara and Bucharest.

SoNAR 2019 revolves around the study of large networks (data collection, processing and analysis) and hosts lectures, presentations and a round table on various topics such as, for instance, co-authorship networks, transnational networks, or intra-organizational networks. Additionally, in the context of social network analysis, two important issues are also addressed: the means for data mining and processing as well as the mixture between machine learning and social statistics.

The keynote address at the SoNAR 2019 is given by Jürgen Lerner (University of Konstanz, Germany). Jürgen Lerner is professor of algorithms with specific research interests in the area of social network analysis, open peer-production, networks with positive and negative ties, computational social science and statistical network modelling.  

During SoNAR 2019, preliminary results of the iCoNiC research project will be reported. These results will be afterwards explored and discussed under the format of a round table. This input is expected to support policy-makers and university top management, in Romania or EU, in tailoring their public policies’ formulations in the field of science.

The booklet is available here.

SoNAR 2019 is endorsed by the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work (The University of Bucharest), the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (the Social Science Division). The organization of SoNAR 2019 is also supported by the Research Center in Applied Ethics.

SoNAR 2019 is supported by the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) through the research grant Longitudinal analysis of coauthorship networks and citations in academia (iCoNiC) – code: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0362 (details on https://iconic.unibuc.ro/)

10th International summer course “Theory, Methods and Applications of Personal Networks” in Barcelona

The ICONIC crew attended, from 1st to 5th of July, the 10th edition of the Summer Course on Personal Networks, held by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. The event was a great occasion for students, academics and even non-academic people to find out about how and why social networks, especially personal networks, influence our everyday life in society. From the spreading of diseases, smoking behaviour, or social support to migration issues and coauthorship networks, the event covered all types of topics and analysis employing different (mixed) methodologies.

During summer course, the team members were involved in different workshops, irrespective of their qualitative or quantitative specific. Now we are more than apprentices in data collection and visualization with Vennmaker (a course taught by Alejandro García Macías with the support of Ignacio Fradejas-García and Paula Escribano, Universidad Autonoma De Aguascalientes, Mexic & Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) and ready to employ Network Canvas demo (Bernie Hogan, Joshua R. Melville, University of Oxford, United Kingdom) during interviews. Another demo presented was Egoweb, a project developed by UAA & UAB. One central focus of the school was on how to do personal network analysis with R language and environment, from the basics to multilevel modelling (with Tom Smith and Raffaele Vacca, University of Florida, USA). Gabriel Hâncean, ICONIC principal investigator, introduced students to hive-plots with HiveR, that is, a new rational and easy way for visualizing network data. The last hands-on workshops were held by Jürgen Lerner (University of Konstanz, Germany), on comparing personal networks with clustered graphs (and by using EgoNet – visone), and on modelling personal networks with ERGMs.

Besides the workshops, we participated to a series of lectures about the fundamentals of personal networks analysis, research questions, name generators, and qualitative dimensions of personal networks. The sessions were held by Miranda J. Lubbers and José Luis Molina (UAB), professors at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and organizers of the Summer School.

The whole team contributed to the introductory workshop to hive-plots with HiveR, assisting the other participants with different issues encountered during R exercises. Also, the team members attended the ORBITS research project meeting 2019 (more details here). The meeting consisted in a discussion about the status of the fieldwork in Romania, Bistrița-Năsăud County, and on how to grow the Orbits project for the next years.

Whole, personal or egocentric networks?

We had the pleasure to listen to Professor José Luis Molina from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, in Timișoara. He gave an inspiring keynote address titled Whole, personal or egocentric networks? What do we know about personal networks and why it matters. The talk about social networks was linked to the concept of liquid society which refers to emergent, changing social structures, which are partially based on agency and personal interactions.

During his talk, professor Molina pointed out that the study of egocentric/personal networks is especially suited for identifying such structures, linking places within and across nations, and networks of organizations or institutions. Egocentric/personal networks informed social network thinking from its inception but just recently the availability of personal network data with both strong and weak ties have contributed to the development of a growing number of contributions in this area.

Nevertheless, in order to fully develop this approach is necessary to distinguish between egocentric (small number of alters), and personal networks (large number of alters). Thus, while egocentric networks are especially useful for social support and health applications, he contended that personal networks are better suited for the study of emergent social structures.

Drawing on more than a decade of research collecting personal networks with a large number of alters, the presentation aims to take stock of the main lessons learned, and reflect upon the theoretical contribution of personal networks to the understanding of social structures and its dynamics.

The talk was held at the West University of Timișoara, Romania, on September, 15.

The presentation delivered at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Romania, on September, 17, can be seen below.