Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-6c8bd87754-lkb8j Total loading time: 0.296 Render date: 2022-01-21T08:45:15.654Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Structure in personal networks: Constructing and comparing typologies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2019

Raffaele Vacca*
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law, University of Florida, Email: r.vacca@ufl.edu

Abstract

A recurrent finding in personal network research is that individual and social outcomes are influenced not just by the kind of people one knows, but also by how those people are connected to each other. Personal network structure – the way in which one’s personal contacts know and interact with each other – reflects broader trends in social organization and personal communities, and shapes patterns of social capital, support, and isolation. This article proposes a method to identify typologies of structure in large collections of personal networks. The method is applied to six datasets collected in widely different circumstances and using various survey instruments. It is then compared with another recently introduced method to extract typologies of egocentric network structure. Findings show that personal network structure can be effectively summarized using just three measures of cohesive subgroup characteristics. Structural typologies can then be identified by applying standard cluster analysis techniques to the three variables. Both methods considered in the article capture significant variation in network structures, but they also show substantial levels of disagreement and cross-classification. I discuss similarities and differences between the methods, and potential applications of the proposed typologies to substantive research on personal communities, social support, and social capital.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Agneessens, F., Waege, H., & Lievens, J. (2006). Diversity in social support by role relations: A typology. Social Networks, 28(4), 427441. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2005.10.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ahuja, G. (2000). Collaboration networks, structural holes, and innovation: A longitudinal study. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45(3), 425455. doi:10.2307/2667105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnaboldi, V., Passarella, A., Conti, M., & Dunbar, R. (2017). Structure of ego-alter relationships of politicians in Twitter. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 22(5), 231247. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12193Google Scholar
Baldassar, L., Nedelcu, M., Merla, L., & Wilding, R. (2016). ICT-based co-presence in transnational families and communities: Challenging the premise of face-to-face proximity in sustaining relationships. Global Networks, 16(2), 133144. doi:10.1111/glob.12108Google Scholar
Barnes, J. A. (1954). Class and committees in a Norwegian island parish. Human Relations, 7(1), 3958. doi:10.1177/001872675400700102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bidart, C., Degenne, A., & Grossetti, M. (2018). Personal networks typologies: A structural approach. Social Networks, 54, 111. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2017.11.003Google Scholar
Blondel, V. D., Guillaume, J.-L., Lambiotte, R., & Lefebvre, E. (2008). Fast unfolding of communities in large networks. Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, 2008(10), P10008. doi:10.1088/1742-5468/2008/10/P10008Google Scholar
Borgatti, S. P., & Everett, M. G. (2000). Models of core/periphery structures. Social Networks, 21(4), 375395. doi:10.1016/S0378-8733(99)00019-2Google Scholar
Boston, P. Q., Mitchell, M. M., Collum, K., & Gravlee, C. C. (2015). Community engagement and health equity. Practicing Anthropology, 37(4), 2832. doi:10.17730/0888-4552-37.4.28Google Scholar
Bott, E. (1957). Family and social network: Roles, norms and external relationships in ordinary urban families. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Brandes, U., Delling, D., Gaertler, M., Görke, R., Hoefer, M., Nikoloski, Z., & Wagner, D. (2008). On modularity clustering. IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, 20(2), 172188. doi:10.1109/TKDE.2007.190689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brandes, U., Lerner, J., Lubbers, M. J., McCarty, C., Molina, J. L., & Nagel, U. (2010). Recognizing modes of acculturation in personal networks of migrants. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 4, 413. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.478Google Scholar
Burt, R. S. (1984). Network items and the general social survey. Social Networks, 6(4), 293339. doi:10.1016/0378-8733(84)90007-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burt, R. S. (1992). Structural holes: The social structure of competition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Chua, V., Madej, J., & Wellman, B. (2011). Personal communities: The world according to me. In Scott, J., & Carrington, P. J. (Eds.), The Sage handbook of social network analysis (pp. 101115). London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. The American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95S120.Google Scholar
Collins, R. (1988). Theoretical sociology. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
Cornwell, B. (2009). Good health and the bridging of structural holes. Social Networks, 31(1), 92103. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2008.10.005CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Crossley, N., Bellotti, E., Edwards, G., Everett, M. G., Koskinen, J., & Tranmer, M. (2015). Social network analysis for ego-nets. London: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
Csardi, G., & Nepusz, T. (2006). The igraph software package for complex network research. InterJournal, Complex Systems, 1695(5), 19.Google Scholar
Dao, V.-L., Bothorel, C., & Lenca, P. (2018). Community structure: A comparative evaluation of community detection methods. ArXiv:1812.06598 [Cs, Stat]. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/1812.06598.Google Scholar
Dunbar, R. I. M., Arnaboldi, V., Conti, M., & Passarella, A. (2015). The structure of online social networks mirrors those in the offline world. Social Networks, 43, 3947. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2015.04.005Google Scholar
Entwisle, B., Faust, K., Rindfuss, R. R., & Kaneda, T. (2007). Networks and contexts: Variation in the structure of social ties. American Journal of Sociology, 112(5), 14951533. doi:10.1086/511803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feld, S. L. (1981). The focused organization of social ties. American Journal of Sociology, 86(5), 10151035. doi:10.1086/227352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Florida, R., & Mellander, C. (2015). Segregated city. The geography of economic segregation in America’s metros. Martin Prosperity Institute. Retrieved from https://martinprosperity.org/content/segregated-city/.Google Scholar
Fortunato, S. (2010). Community detection in graphs. Physics Reports, 486(3–5), 75174. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2009.11.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fortunato, S., & Hric, D. (2016). Community detection in networks: A user guide. Physics Reports, 659, 144. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2016.09.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fox, J. (2008). Applied regression analysis and generalized linear models (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
Giannella, E., & Fischer, C. S. (2016). An inductive typology of egocentric networks. Social Networks, 47, 1523. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2016.02.003Google Scholar
Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. The American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 13601380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hagan, J. M. (1998). Social networks, gender, and Immigrant Incorporation: resources and Constraints. American Sociological Review, 63(1), 55. doi:10.2307/2657477Google Scholar
Haines, V. A., Hurlbert, J. S., & Beggs, J. J. (1996). Exploring the determinants of support provision: Provider characteristics, personal networks, community contexts, and support following life events. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37(3), 252264. doi:10.2307/2137295Google ScholarPubMed
Hampton, K. N., & Wellman, B. (2018). Lost and saved … again: The moral panic about the loss of community takes hold of social media. Contemporary Sociology, 47(6), 643651. doi:10.1177/0094306118805415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Handcock, M. S., Raftery, A. E., & Tantrum, J. M. (2007). Model-based clustering for social networks. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 170(2), 301354. doi:10.1111/j.1467-985X.2007.00471.xGoogle Scholar
Hornik, K. (2005). A CLUE for CLUster Ensembles. Journal of Statistical Software, Articles, 14(12), 125. doi:10.18637/jss.v014.i12Google Scholar
Hubert, L., & Arabie, P. (1985). Comparing partitions. Journal of Classification, 2(1), 193218. doi:10.1007/BF01908075Google Scholar
Jaccard, P. (1901). Etude comparative de la distribution florale dans une portion des Alpes et des Jura. Bulletin de La Société Vaudoise Des Sciences Naturelles, 37, 547579.Google Scholar
Jones, E. C., Faas, A. J., Murphy, A. D., Tobin, G. A., Whiteford, L. M., & McCarty, C. (2013). Cross-cultural and site-based influences on demographic, well-being, and social network predictors of risk perception in hazard and disaster settings in Ecuador and Mexico. Human Nature, 24(1), 532. doi:10.1007/s12110-013-9162-3Google ScholarPubMed
Kaufman, L., & Rousseeuw, P. J. (1990). Finding groups in data: An introduction to cluster analysis. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
Kawachi, I., & Berkman, L. (2014). Social capital, social cohesion, and health. In Berkman, L. F., Kawachi, I., & Glymour, M. M. (Eds.), Social epidemiology (2nd ed., pp. 290319). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Lin, N. (1999). Social networks and status attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 25(1), 467487. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.25.1.467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lubbers, M. J., Molina, J. L., & McCarty, C. (2007). Personal networks and ethnic identifications. The case of migrants in Spain. International Sociology, 22(6), 721741. doi:10.1177/0268580907082255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lubbers, M. J., Verdery, A. M., & Molina, J. L. (2018). Social networks and transnational social fields: A review of quantitative and mixed-methods approaches. International Migration Review, 0197918318812343. doi:10.1177/0197918318812343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lusher, D., Koskinen, J., & Robins, G. (2012). Exponential random graph models for social networks: Theory, methods, and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Maechler, M., Rousseeuw, P., Struyf, A., Hubert, M., & Hornik, K. (2019). Cluster: Cluster analysis basics and extensions. R package version 2.1.0. https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/cluster/citation.html.Google Scholar
Marsden, P. V. (1990). Network data and measurement. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 435463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Martí, J., Bolíbar, M., & Lozares, C. (2017). Network cohesion and social support. Social Networks, 48, 192201. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2016.08.006Google Scholar
McCarty, C. (2002). Structure in personal networks. Journal of Social Structure, 3(1), 111.Google Scholar
McCarty, C., Bernard, H. R., Killworth, P. D., Shelley, G. A., & Johnsen, E. C. (1997). Eliciting representative samples of personal networks. Social Networks, 19(4), 303323. doi:10.1016/S0378-8733(96)00302-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCarty, C., Lubbers, M. J., Vacca, R., & Molina, J. L. (2019). Conducting personal network research. A practical guide. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Mollenhorst, G., Volker, B., & Flap, H. (2014). Changes in personal relationships: How social contexts affect the emergence and discontinuation of relationships. Social Networks, 37, 6580. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2013.12.003Google Scholar
Newman, M. E. J., & Girvan, M. (2004). Finding and evaluating community structure in networks. Physical Review E, 69(2), 026113-1-026113–15. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.69.026113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nowicki, K., & Snijders, T. A. B. (2001). Estimation and prediction for stochastic blockstructures. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 96(455), 10771087. doi:10.1198/016214501753208735Google Scholar
Offer, S., & Fischer, C. S. (2018). Difficult people: Who is perceived to be demanding in personal networks and why are they there? American Sociological Review, 83(1), 111142. doi:10.1177/0003122417737951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oliver, M. L. (1988). The urban black community as network: Toward a social network perspective. The Sociological Quarterly, 29(4), 623645. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.1988.tb01438.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Orfield, G., & Ee, J. (2017). Tough choices facing Florida’s governments: Patterns of resegregation in Florida’s schools. Leroy Collins Institute. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/0r21h348.Google Scholar
Pachucki, M. A., & Breiger, R. L. (2010). Cultural holes: Beyond relationality in social networks and culture. Annual Review of Sociology, 36(1), 205224. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102615Google Scholar
Pantea, M.-C. (2013). Social ties at work: Roma migrants and the community dynamics. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(11), 17261744. doi:10.1080/01419870.2012.664282Google Scholar
Parigi, P., & Henson, W. II (2014). Social isolation in America. Annual Review of Sociology, 40(1), 153171. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145646Google Scholar
Perry, B. L., Borgatti, S., & Pescosolido, B. A. (2018). Egocentric network analysis: Foundation, methods, and models. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Pescosolido, B. A., & Rubin, B. A. (2000). The web of group affiliations revisited: Social life, postmodernism, and sociology. American Sociological Review, 65(1), 5276. doi:10.2307/2657289Google Scholar
Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 124.Google Scholar
Portes, A., & Sensenbrenner, J. (1993). Embeddedness and immigration: Notes on the social determinants of economic action. American Journal of Sociology, 98(6), 13201350.Google Scholar
Portes, A., & Vickstrom, E. (2011). Diversity, social capital, and cohesion. Annual Review of Sociology, 37(1), 461479. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-081309-150022Google Scholar
Puetz, K., & Mayer, B. (2018). The social networks of resilience following an environmental disaster: A technique for rapid appraisal of community network structure. Under Review.Google Scholar
Rainie, H., & Wellman, B. (2012). Networked: The new social operating system. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rand, W. M. (1971). Objective criteria for the evaluation of clustering methods. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 66(336), 846850. doi:10.1080/01621459.1971.10482356Google Scholar
Shwed, U., & Bearman, P. S. (2010). The temporal structure of scientific consensus formation. American Sociological Review, 75(6), 817840. doi:10.1177/0003122410388488Google ScholarPubMed
Simmel, G. (1908). Group expansion and the development of individuality. In Levine, D. N. (Ed.), On individuality and social forms: Selected writings (pp. 251293). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Small, M. L. (2017). Someone to talk to. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Sordé, T., Serradell, O., Puigvert, L., & Munté, A. (2014). Solidarity networks that challenge racialized discourses: The case of Romani immigrant women in Spain. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 21(1), 87102. doi:10.1177/1350506813510425Google Scholar
Thoits, P. A. (2011). Mechanisms linking social ties and support to physical and mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 52(2), 145161. doi:10.1177/0022146510395592Google ScholarPubMed
Tobin, G. A., Whiteford, L. M., Murphy, A. D., Jones, E. C., & McCarty, C. (2014). Modeling social networks and community resilience in chronic disasters: Case studies from volcanic areas in Ecuador and Mexico. In Gasparini, P., Manfredi, G., & Asprone, D. (Eds.), Resilience and sustainability in relation to natural disasters: A challenge for future cities (pp. 1324). Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-04316-6_2Google Scholar
Vacca, R., Solano, G., Lubbers, M. J., Molina, J. L., & McCarty, C. (2018). A personal network approach to the study of immigrant structural assimilation and transnationalism. Social Networks, 53, 7289. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2016.08.007Google Scholar
Wang, D. J., & Soule, S. A. (2016). Tactical innovation in social movements: The effects of peripheral and multi-issue protest. American Sociological Review, 81(3), 517548. doi:10.1177/0003122416644414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Cohesive subgroups. In Social network analysis: Methods and applications (pp. 249290). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Wellman, B. (2007). The network is personal: Introduction to a special issue of social networks. Social Networks, 29(3), 349356. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2007.01.006Google Scholar
Wellman, B., & Frank, K. A. (2001). Network capital in a multi-level world: Getting support from personal communities. In Lin, N., Cook, K. S., & Burt, R. S. (Eds.), Social capital: Theory and research (pp. 233273). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
Wellman, B., & Potter, S. (1999). The elements of personal communities. In Wellman, B. (Ed.), Networks in the global village: Life in contemporary communities (1st ed., pp. 4982). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Vacca supplementary material

Vacca supplementary material
Download Vacca supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 199 KB
9
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Structure in personal networks: Constructing and comparing typologies
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Structure in personal networks: Constructing and comparing typologies
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Structure in personal networks: Constructing and comparing typologies
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *