Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts, and Findings

Despite the swift spread of social network concepts and their applications and the rising use of network analysis in social science, there is no book that provides a thorough general introduction for the serious reader. Understanding Social Networks fills that gap by explaining the big ideas that underlie the social network phenomenon. Written for those interested in this fast moving area but who are not mathematically inclined, it covers fundamental concepts, then discusses networks and their core themes in increasing order of complexity. Kadushin demystifies the concepts, theories, and findings developed by network experts. He selects material that serves as basic building blocks and examples of best practices that will allow the reader to understand and evaluate new developments as they emerge. Understanding Social Networks will be useful to social scientists who encounter social network research in their reading, students new to the network field, as well as managers, marketers, and others who constantly encounter social networks in their work.

Images from Understanding Social Networks

Understanding Social Networks
“[With marketing] personal contact is most effective, if one can find a way to start a snowball rolling. Marketers call this ‘viral marketing.’ [In this image] researchers tracked recommendations for a Japanese graphic novel and illustrated the spread in a dense network.” (Kadushin, 9)
Understanding Social Networks
“Each of these five-person cliques is totally connected and mutual. But no one can be a member of the other clique without all ten being connected and mutual.” (Kadushin, 47)

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One Response to Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts, and Findings

  1. An invaluable lesson from a renowned scholar As a Ph.D. student specializing in social network analysis (SNA) and, thus, having read several SNA books, I would like to strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in this area. Caution: this is not a book about SNA software or tools; instead, it is about the basic concepts, their underlying social or pscyhological theories, and limitations, which reflect the most recent advancements in this field. Although some sections of the book (e.g., about psychological motivations of social networking) might be a little difficult to follow for students who are not familiar with the topic, the overall contents of the book are easy to read and understand. In particular, what I like most about this book is that the author offers a section of network resarch ethics (which is rare in other books) and, in each chapter, plenty of research directions needed to be explored. At the end of the book, the author presents ten master ideas in the social network study (e.g., homophily, social capital, etc.) as a 12-page-long summary of his book, which, as for me, seems to be the most succint, comprehensive summary about key concepts and findings of SNA up to now.

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