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Social networks and social sciences


The use of social network theory in the social sciences began with studies on the urbanization of Manchester School (centering around Max Gluckman), done mainly in Zambia during the 1960s. The field of sociometry, trying to quantify the social relations, has linked it. Subsequently, scholars such as Harrison White and Mark Granovetter expanded the use of social networks, and they are now used to help explain many diverse phenomena of life in the social sciences. Power within organizations, for example, was found to disclose to which degree a social actor in a network is central to several social relations more than his effective professional title. Social networks also play a key role in hiring, in the success of companies and job performance.

The theory of social networks is an extremely active field in academia and several research tools for analyzing social networks are available online and are relatively easy to use for simply providing a social network graph.

The theory of diffusion of innovations explores social networks and their role in influencing the spread of new ideas and practices.

Socio-technical systems are loosely related to network analysis and focus on the relationships among individuals, institutions, objects and technologies.

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