InterJournal Complex Systems, 488
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [488]
Submission Date: 10623
Revised On: 10624
Evolution of Social Networks in Fragments
Author(s): Patrick Doreian

Subject(s): CX.11, CX.41, CX.43

Category: Article


There are interesting (and serious) issues that arise in attempts to model the evolution of social networks when both network structures and actor attributes are involved in generating change. The argument developed here is that when network evolution is assumed to be a process that transforms a social network {em as a whole network} it reflects a rather limited view. Instead, we need to consider the idea that different parts of the network evolve as distinct subsystems in their own right which, at some point, are then coupled. Three examples are used to construct the argument. One is a set of simulations based on basic ideas in structural balance theory and a second is found in the analysis of a temporal signed network that provided an empirical test of structural balance theory. The third example concerns through time generation of social knowledge in a classroom situation. Together, these examples point to the operation of multiple processes and the conception that network evolution induces change through distinct local network processes that are coupled to form a global `network evolutionary' process.

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