Social network analysis is a way of conceptualizing, describing, and modeling society as sets of people or groups linked to one another by specific relationships, whether these relationships are as tangible as exchange networks or as intangible as perceptions of each other. Network analysts believe that how an individual lives depends in large part on how he or she is tied into the larger web of social connections. A focus on networks helps us understand, for example, the activities of economic elites, how people get jobs, how juries reach consensus, how nations pattern their trade, the “small world” phenomena, and the structure of the Internet.
Cornell has an active group of scholars who are at the forefront of social network analysis, both in developing new methods for analyzing networks, collecting network data, and applying social network logic to new substantive topics. For more information, see the web site for the Social Dynamics Laboratory at Cornell.