Tag Archives | Social Networks

Social Influence on Observed Race

Zsófia Boda

Sociological Science, January 18, 2018
DOI 10.15195/v5.a3

This article introduces a novel theoretical approach for understanding racial fluidity, emphasizing the social embeddedness of racial classifications. We propose that social ties affect racial perceptions through within-group micromechanisms, resulting in discrepancies between racial self-identifications and race as classified by others. We demonstrate this empirically on data from 12 Hungarian high school classes with one minority group (the Roma) using stochastic actor-oriented models for the analysis of social network panel data. We find strong evidence for social influence: individuals tend to accept their peers’ judgement about another student’s racial category; opinions of friends have a larger effect than those of nonfriends. Perceived social position also matters: those well-accepted among majority-race peers are likely to be classified as majority students themselves. We argue that similar analyses in other social contexts shall lead to a better understanding of race and interracial processes.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Zsófia Boda: Chair of Social Networks, ETH Zürich; Nuffield College, University of Oxford; MTA TK “Lendület” Research Center for Educational and Network Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Email: zsofia.boda@gess.ethz.ch

Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA; grant K 881336) and the Economic and Social Research Council (grant ES/J500112/1). The data were collected in the scope of the MTA TK “Lendület” Research Center for Educational and Network Studies. I would like to thank Tom Snijders, Janne Jonsson, Károly Takács, Bálint Néray, András Vörös, Christoph Stadtfeld, Per Block, Brooks Paige, James Moody, John Ermisch, and many other colleagues for helpful comments on different versions of this article.

  • Citation: Boda, Zsófia. 2018. “Social Influence on Observed Race.” Sociological Science 5: 29-57.
  • Received: November 4, 2017
  • Accepted: December 4, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Mario Small
  • DOI: 10.15195/v5.a3

The Entrepreneur’s Network and Firm Performance

Victor Nee, Lisha Liu, Daniel DellaPosta

Sociological Science, October 18, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a23

Diverse organizational forms coexist in China’s market economy, adapting and evolving in intensely competitive production markets. We examine the networks of founding chief executive officers of private manufacturing firms in seven cities of the Yangzi River Delta region in China. Through sequence analysis of ties that entrepreneurs relied on for help in the founding and critical events of their businesses, we identify three discrete forms of network governance: traditional kin-based, hybrid nonkin, and rational capitalist. We find that in traditional kin-based network governance, structural holes are linked to higher returns on assets and returns on equity. By contrast, in the rational capitalist form, structural holes and higher firm performance are not linked. We thus show that the content of the tie matters critically in the relationship between structural holes and firm performance.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Victor Nee: Department of Sociology, Cornell University
Email: victor.nee@cornell.edu

Lisha Liu: Department of Sociology, Cornell University
Email: ll733@cornell.edu.com

Daniel DellaPosta: Department of Sociology and Criminology, Pennsylvania State University
Email: djd78@psu.edu

Acknowledgements: Victor Nee gratefully acknowledges grants from the John Templeton Foundation (2005–2010; 2015–2018), research assistant support from the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University, and the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation (2011–2013). We thank Michael Macy, Anne Tsui, Brett de Bary, Rachel Davis, Mario Molina, Lucas Drouhot, and David Strang for their helpful comments on an earlier draft. Victor Nee received helpful feedback on his presentation of the article at the 2017 Conference of the International Network of Analytical Sociologists in Oslo, Norway, on June 5 and 6 and the Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from July 3 to 6. Lisha Liu and Daniel DellaPosta share equal responsibility in their contributions.

  • Citation: Nee, Victor, Lisha Liu, and Daniel DellaPosta. 2017. “The Entrepreneur’s Network and Firm Performance.” Sociological Science 4: 552-579.
  • Received: July 12, 2017
  • Accepted: September 5, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a23

Interactions, Actors, and Time: Dynamic Network Actor Models for Relational Events

Christoph Stadtfeld, Per Block

Sociological Science, May 15, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a14

Ample theoretical work on social networks is explicitly or implicitly concerned with the role of interpersonal interaction. However, empirical studies to date mostly focus on the analysis of stable relations. This article introduces Dynamic Network Actor Models (DyNAMs) for the study of directed, interpersonal interaction through time. The presented model addresses three important aspects of interpersonal interaction. First, interactions unfold in a larger social context and depend on complex structures in social systems. Second, interactions emanate from individuals and are based on personal preferences, restricted by the available interaction opportunities. Third, sequences of interactions develop dynamically, and the timing of interactions relative to one another contains useful information. We refer to these aspects as the network nature, the actor-oriented nature, and the dynamic nature of social interaction. A case study compares the DyNAM framework to the relational event model, a widely used statistical method for the study of social interaction data.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Christoph Stadtfeld: Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zürich
Email: c.stadtfeld@ethz.ch

Per Block: Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, ETH Zürich
Email: per.block@gess.ethz.ch

Acknowledgements: Useful feedback and comments that considerably improved this article were graciously provided by James Hollway, by members of the social network research group in Zürich, by participants of the Swiss Networks Workshop in Zürich, and by the 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology (RC33) in Leicester. Discussions with Alessandro Lomi and Viviana Amati contributed to the formulation of the idea of network mechanisms that operate on different time scales—they refer to this idea as “process time.”

  • Citation: Stadtfeld, Christoph, and Per Block. 2017. “Interactions, Actors, and Time: Dynamic Network Actor Models for Relational Events.” Sociological Science 4: 318-352.
  • Received: March 10, 2017
  • Accepted: April 9, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper B. Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a14

Dissecting the Spirit of Gezi: Influence vs. Selection in the Occupy Gezi Movement

Ceren Budak, Duncan J. Watts

Sociological Science, July 22, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a18

Do social movements actively shape the opinions and attitudes of participants by bringing together diverse groups that subsequently influence one another? Ethnographic studies of the 2013 Gezi uprising seem to answer “yes,” pointing to solidarity among groups that were traditionally indifferent, or even hostile, to one another. We argue that two mechanisms with differing implications may generate this observed outcome: “influence” (change in attitude caused by interacting with other participants); and “selection” (individuals who participated in the movement were generally more supportive of other groups beforehand). We tease out the relative importance of these mechanisms by constructing a panel of over 30,000 Twitter users and analyzing their support for the main Turkish opposition parties before, during, and after the movement. We find that although individuals changed in significant ways, becoming in general more supportive of the other opposition parties, those who participated in the movement were also significantly more supportive of the other parties all along. These findings suggest that both mechanisms were important, but that selection dominated. In addition to our substantive findings, our paper also makes a methodological contribution that we believe could be useful to studies of social movements and mass opinion change more generally. In contrast with traditional panel studies, which must be designed and implemented prior to the event of interest, our method relies on ex post panel construction, and hence can be used to study unanticipated or otherwise inaccessible events. We conclude that despite the well known limitations of social media, their “always on” nature and their widespread availability offer an important source of public opinion data.
Ceren Budak: Microsoft Research. Email: cbudak@microsoft.com

Duncan J. Watts: Microsoft Research Email: duncan@microsoft.com

Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Sandra Gonzales-Bailon, David Rothschild, and Mathew Salganik for several helpful conversations as well as their extensive comments on an earlier version of this article.

  • Citation: Budak, Ceren, and Duncan J. Watts. 2015. “Dissecting the Spirit of Gezi: Influence vs. Selection in the Occupy Gezi Movement.” Sociological Science 2: 370-397.
  • Received: December 20, 2014.
  • Accepted: February 4, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a18

Neighborhood and Network Disadvantage among Urban Renters

Matthew Desmond, Weihua An

Sociological Science, June 24, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a16

Drawing on novel survey data, this study maps the distribution of neighborhood and network disadvantage in a population of Milwaukee renters and evaluates the relationship between each disadvantage and multiple social and health outcomes. We find that many families live in neighborhoods with above average disadvantage but are embedded in networks with below average disadvantage, and vice versa. Neighborhood (but not network) disadvantage is associated with lower levels of neighborly trust but also with higher levels of community support (e.g., providing neighbors with food). Network (but not neighborhood) disadvantage is associated with lower levels of civic engagement. Asthma and diabetes are associated exclusively with neighborhood disadvantage, but depression is associated exclusively with network disadvantage. These findings imply that some social problems may be better addressed by neighborhood interventions and others by network interventions.
Matthew Desmond: Department of Sociology and Social Studies, Harvard University.  Email: mdesmond@fas.harvard.edu

Weihua An: Department of Sociology and Statistics, Indiana University.

Acknowledgements: Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, through its “How Housing Matters” initiative, and the Harvard Society of Fellows. Deborah De Laurell, Carl Gershenson, Barbara Kiviat, Kristin Perkins, Tracey Shollenberger, Adam Slez, Van Tran, and the Sociological Science editors provided helpful comments on earlier drafts.

  • Citation: Desmond, Matthew, and Weihua An. 2015. “Neighborhood and Network Disadvantage among Urban Renters.” Sociological Science 2: 329-350
  • Received: January 15, 2015
  • Accepted: March 6, 2015
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a16

“Trivial” Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the “Important Matters” Name Generator

Matthew E. Brashears

Sociological Science, November 10, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a27

This paper uses a nationally representative dataset of discussion relationships to determine what Americans consider to be an important matter, whether some topics are predominantly discussed with certain types of associates, and if the topic of discussion or the role of the discussant predicts the availability of social support. Results indicate that some topics are pursued or avoided with particular types of alters, and that the role of the discussant, but not the topic of discussion, predicts the availability of support from our discussion partners. This implies that some differences in measured network structure may be due to variations in topics discussed, but that topic says little about the supportiveness of the tie once we are dealing with important matters discussants.
 Matthew E. Brashears: Cornell University  E-mail: meb299@cornell.edu

  • Citation: Brashears, Matthew E. 2014. “‘Trivial’ Topics and Rich Ties: The Relationship Between Discussion Topic, Alter Role, and Resource Availability Using the ‘Important Matters’ Name Generator.” Sociological Science 1: 493-511.
  • Received: June 30, 2014
  • Accepted: August 7, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Delia Baldassarri
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a27

Secrets and Misperceptions: The Creation of Self-Fulfilling Illusions

Sarah K. Cowan

Sociological Science, November 3, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a26

This study examines who hears what secrets, comparing two similar secrets — one which is highly stigmatized and one which is less so. Using a unique survey representative of American adults and intake forms from a medical clinic, I document marked differences in who hears these secrets. People who are sympathetic to the stigmatizing secret are more likely to hear of it than those who may react negatively. This is a consequence not just of people selectively disclosing their own secrets but selectively sharing others’ as well. As a result, people in the same social network will be exposed to and influenced by different information about those they know and hence experience that network differently. When people effectively exist in networks tailored by others to not offend then the information they hear tends to be that of which they already approve. Were they to hear secrets they disapprove of then their attitudes might change but they are less likely to hear those secrets. As such, the patterns of secret-hearing contribute to a stasis in public opinion.
 Sarah K. Cowan: New York University  E-mail: sarahkcowan@nyu.edu

  • Citation: Cowan, Sarah K. 2014. “Secrets and Misperceptions: The Creation of Self-Fulfilling Illusions” Sociological Science 1: 466-492.
  • Received: July 22, 2014
  • Accepted: August 31, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a26

Why Your Friends Are More Important and Special Than You Think

Thomas U. Grund

Sociological Science, April 14, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a10

A large amount of research finds associations between individuals’ attributes and the position of individuals in network structures. In this article, I illustrate how such associations systematically affect the assessment of attributes through network neighbors. The friendship paradox—a general regularity in network contexts, which states that your friends are likely to have more friends than you—becomes relevant and extends to individuals’ attributes as well. First, I show that your friends are likely to be better informed (closeness), better intermediaries (betweenness) and more powerful (eigenvector) than you. Second, I suggest more generally that your friends are likely to be more special in their attributes than the population at large. Finally, I investigate the implications of this phenomenon in a dynamic setting. Applying calibrated agent-based simulations, I use a model of attribute adoption to emphasize how structurally introduced experiences penetrate the trajectory of social processes. Existing research does not yet adequately acknowledge this phenomenon.

Thomas U. Grund: Stockholm University. E-mail: thomas.u.grund@gmail.com

  • Citation: Thomas U. Grund. 2014. “Why Your Friends Are More Important and Special Than You Think.” Sociological Science 1: 128–140
  • Received: December 14, 2013
  • Accepted: December 27, 2o13
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Ezra Zuckerman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a10


The Structure of Online Activism

Kevin Lewis, Kurt Gray, Jens Meierhenrich

Sociological Science, February 18, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a1
Despite the tremendous amount of attention that has been paid to the internet as a tool for civic engagement, we still have little idea how “active” is the average online activist or how social networks matter in facilitating electronic protest. In this paper, we use complete records on the donation and recruitment activity of 1.2 million members of the Save Darfur “Cause” on Facebook to provide a detailed first look at a massive online social movement. While both donation and recruitment behavior are socially patterned, the vast majority of Cause members recruited no one else into the Cause and contributed no money to it-suggesting that in the case of the Save Darfur campaign, Facebook conjured an illusion of activism rather than facilitating the real thing.

Kevin Lewis: Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego. E-mail: lewis@ucsd.edu

Kurt Gray: Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. E-mail: kurtgray@unc.edu

Jens Meierhenrich: Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science. E-mail: J.Meierhenrich@lse.ac.uk

  • Citation: Lewis, Kevin, Kurt Gray, and Jens Meierhenrich. 2014. “The Structure of Online Activism.” Sociological Science 1: 1-9.
  • Received: September 16, 2013
  • Accepted: October 16, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a1