7th UKSNA Conference now over

10Jul11

In the last few days, my University has hosted the 7th UK Social Networks conference. Good attendance, good atmosphere, and many good papers, despite remarkable absences (unfortunately!), primarily due to other relevant conferences taking place simultaneously elsewhere.

I have been particularly proud of my three students who have presented posters based on their coursework on business networks. A good way for them to get a sense of what research is -while contributing themselves to knowledge.

Among the keynote speeches, I found Mario Diani’s particularly interesting and illuminating, covering a wide range of issues that can be of interest for those who study social movements (as he does), but also more generally. All forms of collective action, indeed, can be explained in interesting ways through a social networks approach. I was less convinced by Katie Faust’s insistence on animal networks, and I still have some trouble seeing the interesting of comparing different social networks -as comparisons are not in the form of randomised controlled trials and many conditions differ from one network to another, no immediate policy applications (what the social scientist ultimately cares about!) seem envisageable.  But I (somehow…) see the methodological interest of detecting structural commonalities across networks composed of different actors. Regarding David Knoke’s speech, I was particularly intrigued by his notion of social liability as a sort of negative social capital, though I still need to think more about potential applications.

The other sessions were parallel and therefore, I could not attend all of them -and I do not have an opinion, therefore, about all papers. That said, I was impressed by Paola Zappa on the interbank market interpreted as a network, Cécile Emery on leadership emergence through networks, Meredith Rolfe on influence in political networks, and Samantha Stratton‐Short on online discussion networks around sustainable development projects.

The reception on the first day of the conference, at the Greenwich student union, was nice and well-attended. The boat trip was miracolously saved as the weather was slightly improving ~–though unfortunately, it was still much worse than two years ago.

The days before the conference were dedicated to short courses. I gave one on Introduction to Social Network Analysis, targeting newcomers to the field, which I think went pretty well. I thank all participants for attending and invite feedback ~–whatever can help us to improve next year is welcome! I also thank Alexandra Marin for advice based on her experience with similar workshops given at the Sunbelt conference. My slides of this year are available on request ~–please post me a comment below and I will be happy to send them to you.

I was also present at the conference with two presentations, one related to my project Anamia and that was presented by Antonio (slides here, but with pictures removed for privacy protection purposes); the other with Cécile Emery and Juliette Rouchier, with the paper we are now completing on opinion transmission in organisations (slides here).

The next UKSNA conference will probably be in Bristol (alternatively, Manchester) as London will host the Olympics next year and Greenwich will be a bit too complicated.

Meanwhile, I’ll just mention briefly my work with Antonio Casilli on Testing the “End of Privacy” Hypothesis in Computer-mediated Communication: An Agent-based Modelling Approach, that he presented last Tuesday at the Congress of Association Française de Sociologie in Grenoble.

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One Response to “7th UKSNA Conference now over”

  1. 1 Cécile Emery

    Thank you Paola for the very positive feedback!
    You did an amazing job our presentation too!


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