Graph Theory


1 Social Network Analysis: From Social Ties to Graphs

This is likely not your first sociology course; but even if it is, relationships are relatively intuitive for people. They are all around us: you and your parents, you and your siblings, your siblings and your parents, you and your classmates, your classmates to each other. Affiliation, communication, friendship, hatred: these are the content of social relationships. Two people either have a relationship of some kind, or they do not. Essentially, a relationship is a connection between at least two social actors. We will see that sometimes, when relations clump together into networks, two sets of relations can have different content, but still share the same form (e.g., arrangement, or pattern).

The technical social networks term for “relations clumping together into networks” is concatenation. For instance, every time you introduce two previously unrelated acquaintances to one another, you concatenate two previous disconnected ties into a connected triple.

2 Social Ties

For example, you are likely enrolled in a social network’s class if you are reading this, and have people you know such as your friends and people you’ve taken prior classes with, but also people you’ve never seen before. It might be obvious that you have a relationship with those people that you know, but do you have a relationship with those you do not know?