The always excellent Omar Lizardo over at Orgtheory.org has recently recommended two essential new articles for those interested in networks and the history of network analysis in the US in particular. As my own work is firmly falling within relational sociology, albeit with a more European flavour (e.g. Elias) than American (e.g. White), both papers were fascinating and helpful. Required reading.
The first is by Ann Mische (2010) and called “Relational Sociology, Culture, and Agency” (Forthcoming in the Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis, edited by John Scott and Peter Carrington). The second, to be read in conjunction with the first, is “Cultural Holes: Beyond Relationality in Social Networks and Culture” by Pachucki and Breiger (2010) and forthcoming in the next issue of the Annual Review of Sociology.
Both papers suggest ways in which the structuralism of the early network analysis has recently improved by the inclusion of culture and narrative. Both papers represent the history and the state of the art of this paradigm in an excellent manner and should be widely read.