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26 articles matched your search for the keywords:

Apparatus, Networks, Standards, Failure, Auditing

Informal Exchange Relations in Post-Soviet Russia: A Comparative Perspective

Lonkila
Sociological Research Online 2 (2) 9

Keywords: Comparative Research; Daily Life; Informal Exchange; Post-Soviet Russia; Social Networks; Soviet Union
Abstract: This article takes the form of a case study of a master's course for health and development professionals working in the field of primary health care. It argues the need for health professionals to critically examine research paradigms and the assumptions that inform them, considering their appropriateness to primary health care, a health strategy based on a recognition of the relationship between inequalities and health status. Conventional training of health professionals does not encourage health workers to reflect critically on their research practice. This can be facilitated through an educational strategy that emphasises issues of inequality as central to health and addresses issues of power and purpose in research activity.

Sustainability and Modernity in the European Union: A Frame Theory Approach to Policy-Making

Calloni and Mikrakis Triandafyllidou and Fotiou
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 2

Keywords: Environmental Policy; European Union; Frame Analysis; Qualitative Methods; Sustainable Development; Trans-European Networks
Abstract: Frame analysis has been often used by scholars studying New Social Movements to analyze their discourses and their ability to mobilise people. This paper refers to the application of 'frame analysis' to a different context, namely to discourses of both social movements and institutional actors in the context of public policy-making. More particularly, the study is concerned with the discourses of social actors who participate in the making of EU environmental policy. The advantages and limitations of frame analysis as a method for analysing discourse in an institutional context are discussed. Two case-studies are used to highlight the pros and cons of the method. First, the competing discourses of environmental organisations, business associations, and EU officials with regard to environmental sustainability and the Fifth Action Programme are examined. The second case study addresses the issue of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-Ts) and examines different types of framing of sustainable mobility developed by policy actors. Conclusions are drawn with regard to the contribution of frame theory in the analysis of policy-making processes.

Sociological Practice: The Politics of Identities and Futures

Irwin Deutscher
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 3

Keywords: Environmental Policy; European Union; Frame Analysis; Qualitative Methods; Sustainable Development; Trans-European Networks
Abstract: Frame analysis has been often used by scholars studying New Social Movements to analyze their discourses and their ability to mobilise people. This paper refers to the application of 'frame analysis' to a different context, namely to discourses of both social movements and institutional actors in the context of public policy-making. More particularly, the study is concerned with the discourses of social actors who participate in the making of EU environmental policy. The advantages and limitations of frame analysis as a method for analysing discourse in an institutional context are discussed. Two case-studies are used to highlight the pros and cons of the method. First, the competing discourses of environmental organisations, business associations, and EU officials with regard to environmental sustainability and the Fifth Action Programme are examined. The second case study addresses the issue of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-Ts) and examines different types of framing of sustainable mobility developed by policy actors. Conclusions are drawn with regard to the contribution of frame theory in the analysis of policy-making processes.

The Industrial Organization of Sociology

Tony Tam
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 4

Keywords: Environmental Policy; European Union; Frame Analysis; Qualitative Methods; Sustainable Development; Trans-European Networks
Abstract: Frame analysis has been often used by scholars studying New Social Movements to analyze their discourses and their ability to mobilise people. This paper refers to the application of 'frame analysis' to a different context, namely to discourses of both social movements and institutional actors in the context of public policy-making. More particularly, the study is concerned with the discourses of social actors who participate in the making of EU environmental policy. The advantages and limitations of frame analysis as a method for analysing discourse in an institutional context are discussed. Two case-studies are used to highlight the pros and cons of the method. First, the competing discourses of environmental organisations, business associations, and EU officials with regard to environmental sustainability and the Fifth Action Programme are examined. The second case study addresses the issue of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-Ts) and examines different types of framing of sustainable mobility developed by policy actors. Conclusions are drawn with regard to the contribution of frame theory in the analysis of policy-making processes.

Whose Future? Whose Sociology? a Response to Tam and Deutscher

Bogusia Temple
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 5

Keywords: Environmental Policy; European Union; Frame Analysis; Qualitative Methods; Sustainable Development; Trans-European Networks
Abstract: Frame analysis has been often used by scholars studying New Social Movements to analyze their discourses and their ability to mobilise people. This paper refers to the application of 'frame analysis' to a different context, namely to discourses of both social movements and institutional actors in the context of public policy-making. More particularly, the study is concerned with the discourses of social actors who participate in the making of EU environmental policy. The advantages and limitations of frame analysis as a method for analysing discourse in an institutional context are discussed. Two case-studies are used to highlight the pros and cons of the method. First, the competing discourses of environmental organisations, business associations, and EU officials with regard to environmental sustainability and the Fifth Action Programme are examined. The second case study addresses the issue of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-Ts) and examines different types of framing of sustainable mobility developed by policy actors. Conclusions are drawn with regard to the contribution of frame theory in the analysis of policy-making processes.

Token Salaries and Social Answers in Work Relations in Africa

Massimo Repetti
Sociological Research Online 4 (2) repetti

Keywords: Informal Economy; Senegal; Social Networks; Urban Work; Weak Ties; Work Relations
Abstract: In Dakar, faced with crisis and uncertainty, social answers begin to appear. Only those having a supportive social network could find a place in the labour's market. The observation of the daily routine of any of Dakar's micro-businesses and its social aspects, reveals the wide area of interference that exists between waged worker and the relation networks with family and relatives, ethnic groups and Muslim brotherhoods. The urban economy is supported by a network of family, alliance, and client relations. The overlap existing between waged and unwaged work can be understood only by looking closely at the network of social ties present outside the production site. Switching from the analysis of urban work relationships in Africa to the analysis of social networks is almost spontaneous, because a system of relational actions and strategies grows around the figure of the worker. The importance of the "strength of weak ties" in procuring employment is as a whole confirmed, but African sociability creates an intense inter-network relational interchange. Dakar's urban space feeds a "popular economy" where social networks and the gift-giving logic co-exist with market economy. This economy utilise different wage embryos or tokens salaries for each of the social players.

Making Connections: Children, Technology, and the National Grid for Learning

Jo Moran-Ellis and Geoff Cooper
Sociological Research Online 5 (3) moran-ellis

Keywords: Children; Determinism; Education; ICT; Networks.; Technology
Abstract: Late in 1997 the UK Government launched 'Connecting the Learning Society' (CtLS) as the first concrete step in instituting a 'National Grid for Learning' which will connect schools (and other sites and institutions) to an 'information superhighway'. This paper presents a textual analysis of CtLS which examines the ways in which technology and the child are presented. We find that CtLS relies on conventional constructions of children as learners and future adults and that, in parallel with this, its treatment of technology is schematic and articulated with and in terms of 'the future'. The transformation of society, and the arrival of a new socio?technical future, are taken as certain. We argue, on the one hand, that a vision is propounded in which the Grid is seen as transcendent, in that it will have a major impact regardless of the social relations in the context of use; but on the other, that a careful reading of the text reveals a concern with generating alliances, enrollments and trajectories which act as a kind of infrastructure for this vision. We conclude with some thoughts on the wider set of cultural assumptions that frame the document and which help to buttress its plausibility.

Anti-nuclear Movements: Failed Projects or Heralds of a Direct Action Milieu?

Ian Welsh
Sociological Research Online 6 (3) welsh2

Keywords: Anti-nuclear movements, Social movements, Capacity building, Networks, Qualitative approaches.
Abstract: This paper adopts a qualitative approach to argue that direct action social movements originating within the environmental and anti- nuclear milieu of the 1970s can be characterised by a process of capacity building. Capacity building adopts Melucci's argument that social movements are 'networks of networks'. The notion of capacity building is elaborated in terms of the mobilisation potential of movement actors and the diffusion of movement repertoires within the public sphere more generally. Empirically the paper draws on fieldwork covering 1970s / 1980s movement cross-overs in the UK and the conclusions are informed by recent ESRC sponsored work (R 000 22 3486) on the global 'anti-capitalist' movement.

A Simulation of the Structure of the World-Wide Web

Moses Boudourides and Gerasimos Antypas
Sociological Research Online 7 (1) boudourides

Keywords: Lotka's And Power Laws; Small World Complex Networks; Social Simulation; World-Wide Web As A Graph
Abstract: In this paper we are presenting a simple simulation of the Internet World-Wide Web, where one observes the appearance of web pages belonging to different web sites, covering a number of different thematic topics and possessing links to other web pages. The goal of our simulation is to reproduce the form of the observed World-Wide Web and of its growth, using a small number of simple assumptions. In our simulation, existing web pages may generate new ones as follows: First, each web page is equipped with a topic concerning its contents. Second, links between web pages are established according to common topics. Next, new web pages may be randomly generated and subsequently they might be equipped with a topic and be assigned to web sites. By repeated iterations of these rules, our simulation appears to exhibit the observed structure of the World-Wide Web and, in particular, a power law type of growth. In order to visualise the network of web pages, we have followed N. Gilbert's (1997) methodology of scientometric simulation, assuming that web pages can be represented by points in the plane. Furthermore, the simulated graph is found to possess the property of small worlds, as it is the case with a large number of other complex networks.

Labour Market Participation and Conditions of Employment: a Comparison of Minority Ethnic Groups and Refugees in Britain

Alice Bloch
Sociological Research Online 9 (2) bloch

Keywords: Dispersal.; Employment; Job Seeking; Migration; Minority Ethnic Groups; Refugees; Self-employment; Social Networks; Terms And Conditions Of Employment
Abstract: This paper draws on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and from a survey of 400 refugees in Britain in order to present an up to data comparison of the labour market experiences of minority ethnic groups and refugees. It will show that refugees experience lower rates of employment than their ethnic minority counterparts and that those refugees in employment are more likely to be in temporary and part-time work with poorer terms and conditions of employment and with lower wages. The reasons why refugees experience greater disadvantage in the labour market than others include structural barriers due to policies such as dispersal that can leave refugees isolated from social and community networks that provide information and advice and informal routes into employment but also leave refugees in areas with higher levels of unemployment. Migration patterns are also influential with refugees for the most part arriving more recently in Britain than people from minority ethnic groups. Refugees are also increasingly reliant on agents and smugglers to plan their route and destination and so asylum seekers can find themselves in countries where they have no social networks. Social networks and community organisations play an important role in the early stages of settlement. Finally, the circumstances of exile, attitudes to the country of origin and the insecurity of having temporary status in Britain all prevent economic activity.

Facilitating Social Networks Among Gay Men

Bob Cant
Sociological Research Online 9 (4) cant

Keywords: Diversity; Facilitation; Gay Men; Narratives; Networks; Sexuality; Social Circumstances
Abstract: Social networks are increasingly recognised as being beneficial to health and wellbeing. This paper, drawing from a qualitative study into health services targeted at gay men in London, explores the facilitation by service providers of social networks among gay men. Networks are dependent upon reciprocity among their participants and the study examines how shared narratives can generate a sense of the reciprocity that contributes to the development of networks. The networks discussed here promote instrumental support or communication or emotional well-being or a combination of those. The paper explores the diversity of narratives among the thirty eight gay male service users who were informants to this study. While narratives around experiencing same sex desire, encountering social isolation and making decisions about coming out were articulated by all these informants, there were other organising principles in their lives which also shaped their narratives and their decisions about whom they shared these narratives with. The paper focuses on the development of social networks among three groups of gay men: young South Asian men accessing HIV prevention services, men seeking to give up smoking in relation to their experiences in the commercial venues which constitute the gay scene and carers of gay men and lesbians suffering from a chronic disease. The paper seeks to generate opportunities for reflection about the means to promote health and well-being among this members of this marginalised population group.

The Captive Mother? the Place of Home in the Lives of Lone Mothers

Emma Head
Sociological Research Online 10 (3) head

Keywords: Lone Mothers, Home, Social Networks, Isolation
Abstract: Feminist writers have drawn attention to the way in which the home can be a source of oppression for women, by the experience of domestic violence and the unending burdens of domestic labour. In this literature little attention has been paid to the experiences of lone mothers specifically. This paper presents findings from empirical work with self-defined lone mothers living in social housing and in receipt of income support in south-west England. The tensions between the home being experienced in positive terms as a place of refuge or as symbolic of a new stage of life are contrasted with the experiences of home as a place of isolation and generating a sense of captivity. The way lone mothers experience the home can be understood with reference to a number of factors. These include whether the lone mother has insider or outside status in the area, the perception and experience of crime, racism, social networks and the experience of mothering.

Family and Peer Networks in Intimate and Sexual Relationships Amongst Teenagers in a Multicultural Area of East London

Shamser Sinha, Katherine Curtis, Amanda Jayakody, Russell Viner and Helen Roberts
Sociological Research Online 11 (1) sinha

Keywords: Teenage Pregnancy; Parental Support; Family and Peer Networks; Ethnicity
Abstract: The Minister for Children has recently suggested on the basis of research evidence that parents need to talk more to their children about sex in order to encourage them to start sex later and improve contraceptive use, with a view to reducing teenage conceptions. We report here on a mixed-methods project funded by the Teenage Pregnancy Unit and the Department of Health which draws on accounts of young people aged 15-18 from diverse ethnic groups in East London describing their inclination (or otherwise) to talk with parents, other family members, and peers about sex and intimate relationships. Recent sociological research describes diversity in sexual relationships, family practices and ways in which people love and care for each other, but work addressing ethnicity in these areas has been less well developed. Drawing on research into ethnicity, youth and identity formation in an urban multicultural area, our work indicates that Black African, Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani young people living in East London talk to a range of people for support in addition to, or instead of parents. Thus, the siblings and extended families to whom they go for advice may well have a role in health promotion as may existing peer networks. The findings we report here reflect cultural diversity, re-working of cultural traditions and emerging youth identities in multicultural areas. Whilst there may be benefits in some families from more open talk between parents and children about sex, our work suggests that this could helpfully be supplemented by an increased appreciation of what cultural diversity and youth networks can offer.

Social Capital as Network Capital: Looking at the Role of Social Networks Among Not-For-Profits

Christina Prell Not available for reviewing until Oct 2010
Sociological Research Online 11 (4) prell

Keywords: Social Capital, Social Networks, Measuring Social Capital, Network Capital, Not-For-Profit Relations
Abstract: Social capital's rise in popularity is a phenomenon many have noted (Kadushin, 2006; Warde and Tampubolon, 2002; Portes, 1998). Although the concept is a relatively old one, it is the works of Bourdieu (1986), Coleman (1988; 1990), and Putnam (1993, 2000) that often get credited for popularizing the concept. These three, while sharing a view that social networks are important for social groups and society, they place differing levels of emphasis on the role of networks in building trust or the exchange of various types of resources. In this paper, I briefly revisit these three theorists, and the criticisms each have received, to provide background for discussing recent research on social capital from a social networks approach. The social network approach is then applied to my own case study looking at the relations among not-for-profits, and special attention is given to the unique context of not-for-profits, and how this context might elaborate or challenge current thoughts on social, aka 'network' capital. A final discussion is also given to some measurement problems with the network approach to social capital.

Social Capital and Community Building Through the Internet: a Swedish Case Study in a Disadvantaged Suburban Area

Sara Ferlander and Duncan Timms
Sociological Research Online 12 (5) 8

Keywords: Disadvantaged Area, IT-Café, Local Community, Local Identity, Local Net, Social Capital, Social Networks, Sweden, the Internet, Trust
Abstract: The rapid diffusion of the Internet has considerable potential for enhancing the way people connect with each other, the root of social capital. However, the more the Internet is used for building social capital the greater will the impact be on those whose access and/or usage is curtailed. It is therefore important to investigate the impacts of Internet on groups at risk of digital and social exclusion. The aim of this article is to examine how the use of the Internet influences social capital and community building in a disadvantaged area. Quantitative and qualitative data from a case study in a suburban area of Stockholm are used to evaluate the social impacts of two community-based Internet projects: a Local Net and an IT-Café. Each of the projects was aimed at enhancing digital inclusion and social capital in a disadvantaged local community. The paper examines the extent to which use of the Internet is associated with an enhancement of social participation, social trust and local identity in the area. The Local Net appears to have had limited success in meeting its goals; the IT-Café was more successful. Visitors to the IT-Café had more local friends, expressed less social distrust, perceived less tension between different groups in the area and felt a much stronger sense of local identity than non-visitors. Visitors praised the IT-Café as providing a meeting-place both online and offline. The Internet was used for networking, exchange of support and information seeking. Although it is difficult to establish causal priorities, the evidence suggests that an IT-Café, supporting both virtual and physical meetings, may be especially well suited to build social capital and a sense of local community in a disadvantaged area. The importance of social, rather than solely technological, factors in determining the impact of the Internet on social capital in disadvantaged local communities is stressed.

Network Dynamics in the Transition to Democracy: Mapping Global Networks of Contemporary Indonesian Civil Society

Yanuar Nugroho and Gindo Tampubolon
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 3

Keywords: Global Civil Society, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Network Society, Social Networks, Democracy, Reform, Social Movement, Chequebook Activism, Indonesia
Abstract: This paper seeks to make transparent the mutually reinforcing relationships between global civil society, democracy and network society, which are often implicit in extant theories. The concept of a 'global civil society' cannot be separated from the promotion of democracy. Global civil society itself is one of the most explicit instances of the emergence of network society in the modern age and democracy lies at the very heart of what constitutes a network society. However, very little has been said about how these apparent mutually reinforcing relationships arise. Focusing on the case of Indonesia during the fraught regime change from authoritarianism to democracy, we investigate the role of transnational and national civil society organisation during the periods of pre-reform, reform and post-reform. Using multi-methods, including social network analysis and interviews with civil society activists and networkers, we discover a less encouraging picture of these relationships and conclude that the forging of this virtuous circle has some obvious gaps. We attempt to account for these apparent gaps in this mutually reinforcing relationship in terms of different modes of political participation. We suggest that some forms of 'chequebook activism' characterised the global civil society role during an abrupt and bloody regime change.

My Family and Other Animals: Pets as Kin

Nickie Charles and Charlotte Aull Davies
Sociological Research Online 13 (5) 4

Keywords: Pets, Animals, Family, Kinship Networks
Abstract: The title of this paper gives a family-like character to animals and an animal-like character to the idea of family; it emphasises the close, family and friend-like relationships that can exist between human beings and the animals who share their domestic space. This type of relationship between humans and their pets emerged during a study of families and kinship and in this paper we draw on 193 in-depth interviews conducted in four contrasting areas of a South Wales city. Although our interview schedules did not explicitly ask about animals, a significant proportion of our interviewees spontaneously included their pets as part of their kinship networks. There were two points during the interview when the significance of pets became apparent: when interviewees were asked who counted as family and when they were asked to complete a network diagram. In studies of kinship it has been said that pets are substitutes for children, providing emotional satisfaction. Here we explore some of the other ways in which animals are constructed as kin and discuss whether such constructions confound the (socially constructed) boundary between nature and culture.

It's Not Just Structural: Social Movements Are Not Homogenous Responses to Structural Features, but Networks Shaped by Organisational Strategies and Status

Clare Saunders
Sociological Research Online 14 (1) 4

Keywords: Environmental Movement, Political Opportunity Structures, Social Movements, Social Networks
Abstract: Political opportunity structures are often used to explain differences in the characteristics of movements in different countries on the basis of the national polity in which they exist. However, the approach has a number of weaknesses that are outlined in this article. The article especially stresses the fact that such broad-brush approaches to political opportunity structures fail to account for the different characteristics of movement organisations within the same polity. The article therefore recommends using a more fine-tuned approach to political opportunities, taking into account that the strategies and status of organisations affect the real political opportunities they face. This fine-tuned approach is used to predict how the status and strategy of environmental organisations might influence the extent to which different types of environmental organisations in the UK network with one-another. We find that organisations that face an open polity - those with a moderate action repertoire and a constructive relationship with government institutions - tend not to cooperate with those with a radical action repertoire and negative relations with government institutions. On the other hand, those that vary their action repertoires, and which have variable status according to the issues involved or campaign targets, have a much broader range of network links with other types of organisations. Thus, there is much more diversity in types of environmental organisation in the UK than the broad-brush to political opportunity structures would account for. Nonetheless, it does seem that environmental organisations are aware of how their own behaviours might influence (non-structural) political opportunities, and that they mould their strategies and networking patterns around this awareness.

Governing Through Standards: Networks, Failure and Auditing

Dale Spencer
Sociological Research Online 15 (4) 6

Keywords: Apparatus, Networks, Standards, Failure, Auditing
Abstract: This article seeks to understand network governance within the context of the North American automotive industry. Within this industry, original equipment manufacturers (lead firms) have outsourced a substantial portion of parts production over the last 30 years. This paper argues that in an aim to govern their supplier relations, North American lead firms imposed quality assurance standards upon their suppliers. In addition, this paper considers how nodes situated in the network are called upon to pre-emptively manage failures. Utilizing the quality assurance standards themselves, and 15 in-depth interviews with quality assurance managers at different part supplier plants, this article explores the technologies of performance used to manage failures. The focus of this paper is on the creation of part narratives, and particularly, the quality audit and its role in governing the conduct of part suppliers at-a-distance. Lastly, this paper focuses on the network prudential subject who is called upon to pre-emptively manage failures on behalf of the network.

Dimensions and Boundaries: Comparative Analysis of Occupational Structures Using Social Network and Social Interaction Distance Analysis

Dave Griffiths and Paul Lambert
Sociological Research Online 17 (2) 5

Keywords: Social Interaction; Social Distance; Social Networks; Occupations
Abstract: This paper analyses social interactions between detailed occupational positions as a means of exploring social and occupational inequalities. Two methods are employed: descriptive techniques of social network analysis, and a well-established modelling approach (the 'CAMSIS' method of 'Social Interaction Distance' analysis). New results on occupational connections are presented for four countries - the United States, Romania, the Philippines and Venezuela – illustrative of a range of socio-economic regimes. Our analyses use detailed occupational measures based upon census data from 2000 to 2002, and we also use data on educational attainment, cross-classified by occupational positions. A broad, singular dimension of social stratification is shown to be the principal element of the structure of social interactions between occupations, but the methods also reveal the social role of various boundaries in occupational interaction patterns (defined by work location, education, and gender). We argue that such distinctions imply that occupational data at a disaggregated level can provide a more thorough understanding of social structure than is observable using amalgamated occupational schemes.

Talking Ties: Reflecting on Network Visualisation and Qualitative Interviewing

Louise Ryan, Jon Mulholland and Agnes Agoston
Sociological Research Online 19 (2) 16

Keywords: Qualitative Research, Social Networks, Visualisation Tools, Highly Skilled Migrants, Interview Dynamics, Social Ties
Abstract: This paper uses a reflexive approach to consider the opportunities and challenges of using a visualisation tool in qualitative research on social networks. Although widely used to map social networks over many decades, particularly in health studies and psychology, network visualisation tools are less common in qualitative sociological research. While recent trends in Social Network Analysis (SNA) have tended to concentrate within the quantitative domain, our paper is influenced by the ‘cultural turn’ in network research, and aims to respond to calls for more exploration of how social ties are constructed and represented in qualitative research. Having used a target sociogram to visualise the networks of highly skilled migrants, we reflect critically on how this tool, far from being a neutral data collective device, influences how networks were described, explained, and perceived by participants. Focusing on the dynamics within the interview encounter, especially in the context of ‘researching up’, we explore participant reactions, what we learned and might do differently, next time. We conclude that, despite certain limitations, the sociogram helped mitigate the abstract nature of some topics by connecting them to specific groups of people drawn on the diagram. The tool not only enhanced participants’ reflection process but allowed certain topics to emerge which might have not otherwise surfaced, hence greatly contributing to the collection of rich data. Nonetheless, as we discuss, there are also ethical issues associated with its use.

Escalation of Governance: Effects of Voluntary Standardization on Organizations, Markets and Standards in Swiss Fair Trade

Nadine Arnold and Raimund Hasse
Sociological Research Online 20 (3) 10

Keywords: Governance, Voluntary Standards, Standards Market, Organization, Meta-Standardization, Fair Trade
Abstract: Voluntary standards are a ubiquitous phenomenon in modern society that has recently started to attract sociologists’ profound interest. This paper concentrates on formal standardization over the long term and seeks to understand its effects on the coordination of an organizational field. Using an institutional approach we see standards as a form of governance that can be analytically distinguished from other modes of coordination, such as markets and hierarchical organizations. To empirically ground our understanding of formal standards’ consequences on field-level governance, we conducted a case study of the historical development of the Swiss fair trade field since the 1970s. Evidence used in this case study is drawn from 28 expert interviews, documentation and fair trade standard documents. While a formal set of voluntary standards was absent in its early development, in 1992 fair trade organizations started to use written standards as a means of achieving their objectives. Paradoxically, the introduction of a rational standardization system has led to escalating governance structures in the field. In the long run the launch of formal standards has caused more organizations, more markets, and even more standards. The use of standards as a means of creating differentiation instead of generating uniformity is thereby seen as the main reason for increased coordination demands. As a consequence, this article highlights standards’ potential to boost additional governance efforts and directs attention to the mutual enforcement of distinct modes of coordination.

The Visual Sociogram in Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Research

Paola Tubaro, Louise Ryan and Alessio D'Angelo
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 1

Keywords: Social Networks, Mixed Methods, Qualitative Research, Data Visualization, Sociograms, Relational Data
Abstract: The paper investigates the place of visual tools in mixed-methods research on social networks, arguing that they can not only improve the communicability of results, but also support research at the data gathering and analysis stages. Three examples from the authors’ own research experience illustrate how sociograms can be integrated in multiple ways with other analytical tools, both quantitative and qualitative, positioning visualization at the intersection of varied methods and channelling substantive ideas as well as network insight in a coherent way. Visualization also facilitates the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, including among others, study participants and non-specialist researchers. It can support the capacity of qualitative and mixed-methods research to reach out to areas of the social that are difficult to circumscribe, such as hidden populations and informal organisations. On this basis, visualization appears as a unique opportunity for mixing methods in the study of social networks, emphasizing both structure and process at the same time.

Cases, Mechanisms and the Real: The Theory and Methodology of Mixed-Method Social Network Analysis

Nick Crossley and Gemma Edwards
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 13

Keywords: SNA, Mixed Methods, Social Networks
Abstract: In this paper we make a methodological case for mixed method social network analysis (MMSNA). We begin by both challenging the idea, prevalent in some quarters, that mixing methods means combining incompatible epistemological or theoretical assumptions and by positing an ontological argument in favour of mixed methods. We then suggest a methodological framework for MMSNA and argue for the importance of ‘mechanisms’ in relational-sociological research. Finally, we discuss two examples of MMSNA from our own research, using them to illustrate arguments from the paper.

The Biographical Network Method

Neil Armitage
Sociological Research Online 21 (2) 16

Keywords: Life History, Biography, Personal Networks, Qualitative Interview, Network Dynamics, Life Events
Abstract: This article introduces a network visualization method that enables a thorough analysis of the link between life history and social networks. Network visualizations are generally static, and as such they tend to disguise rather than uncover change and continuity within networks, and the influence that certain events may have on someone’s sociability. The Biographical Network (BN) is a mixed method approach combining life story interviews with formal SNA that attempts to overcome the consequences of this lack of dynamism in network visualizations. In the first part of the article the underpinnings of the BN design and the logistics of the method are outlined in relation to a doctoral study on cultural cosmopolitanism. In the second part findings from applying the BN method with 28 young British and Spanish adults living in Madrid and Manchester are used to demonstrate its utility and its limitations for sociological analysis.

Network Composition, Individual Social Capital and Culture: Comparing Traditional and Post-Modernized Cultures

Julia Häuberer and Alexander Tatarko
Sociological Research Online 22 (2) 10

Keywords: Individual Social Capital, Social Networks, Culture, Modernization, Tradition, Resource Generator
Abstract: This article addresses the influence of cultural background on the access to social capital in family and friendship networks. We will analyze four different culture groups: Czechs and Russians (Muscovites) both representing post-modernized cultures and Dagestans and Chechens both representing traditional cultures. The data will be analyzed using univariate comparisons and fixed effects regressions. Our results indicate that cultural background does not play such a crucial role for social network composition and social capital access through the family or friends. In both cases, Dagestans, Chechens and Czechs access significantly less social capital than do the Russians (Muscovites), however only if Russians (Muscovites) are in frequent contact with their families or have large friendship networks. In other words, network embeddedness seems to play a more important role than cultural background for social capital access.