Qualitative social network research for relational sociology

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Title Qualitative social network research for relational sociology
Author Alexander, Malcolm Laurence
Publication Title The Future of Sociology
Editor Stewart Lockie,David Bissell,Alastair Greig,Maria Hynes,David Marsh,Larry Saha,Joanna Sikora,Dan Woo
Year Published 2009
Place of publication Australia
Publisher TASA - The Australian Sociological Association
Abstract In 1997 Emirebayer published a manifesto for relational sociology. Social network analysis (SNA) figured prominently as a methodology appropriate to his program. This paper argues that Emirbayer has overlooked a major tradition of social research in SNA that examines networks from a bottom-up perspective using 'ego-centric' or egonet methodologies. This paper urges sociologists and social researchers to look at the benefits of egonet research methodology. It argues that egonet methods remain sensitive to the qualitative dimensions of social actors' involvements with their immediate social context, a sensitivity that is lost in other SNA approaches. The paper describes qualitative dimensions of the egonet methodology – 'name generator' questions that generate a list of 'alters' and follow-up questions built on name generator responses. I identify a crucial qualitative issues associated with this methodology as that of finding accurate and meaningful, grounded but theoretical categories for describing relationships. I then describe three studies that derive usable grounded theory concepts that deal with this crucial aspect of social network research. In conclusion I return to the Emirbayer's manifesto for relational sociology and suggest some of the ways that egonet research might also fit into its programme.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.tasa.org.au/conferences/conferencepapers09/appliedsociology.htm
Copyright Statement Copyright remains with the author 2009. The attached file is reproduced here with permission of the copyright owner for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. For information about this conference please refer to TASA website or contact the author.
ISBN 9780646525013
Conference name The annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association 2009: The Future of Sociology
Location Australian National University
Date From 2009-12-01
Date To 2010-03-04
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/31041
Date Accessioned 2010-03-04
Language en_AU
Faculty Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
Subject Sociological Methodology and Research Methods
Publication Type Conference Publications (Full Written Paper - Refereed)
Publication Type Code e1

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