Theories of networks and sustainable cooperation

Faculteit Gedrags- en MaatschappijWetenschappen
Jaar 2020/21
Vakcode SOMASN02
Vaknaam Theories of networks and sustainable cooperation
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester I b

Uitgebreide vaknaam Theories of networks and sustainable cooperation
Leerdoelen After completion of the course, students (1) have an overview of main theoretical approaches in which social networks are used to explain sustainable cooperation and related phenomena at the individual and societal level; (2) are able to apply and reconstruct the social mechanisms behind social network explanations; (3) can develop their own social mechanism based network explanations of selected societal phenomena.
Omschrijving Social networks are inextricably linked to almost any aspect of human life. Some even claim that we live in a network society. It is therefore not surprising that meanwhile there seems to be a social network explanation for almost anything, from obesity to revolutions. But what exactly is a network explanation? Despite the widespread use of the term “network theory", there is no coherent framework that would qualify as such.
The main objective of this course is to systematically review the theoretical foundation of current social network research, disentangle its major assumptions, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and assess its explanatory power in relation to other approaches. Theories of cooperation will be used as an exemplary case for this purpose.
The course is structured into three major parts. In the first part, the students will learn the foundations of structuralist explanations, diving into analytical sociology and a mechanism-based way of reasoning.
The second part will focus on the main network concepts (social capital, strong and weak ties, social influence, brokerage and structural holes, embeddedness, etc) and their application to relevant social issues. Key phenomena and “outcomes” for different levels of analysis and their relation to networks are discussed.
The third part is aimed to take stock and attempts to synthesize the findings obtained during the previous steps. What does a network lens add to our understanding of individual, group, and societal level phenomena, in particular sustainable cooperation? What are the ingredients of a good “Theory of Networks”?
Uren per week variabel
Onderwijsvorm hoorcollege, werkcollege
Toetsvorm essay
Vaksoort master
Coördinator F. Giardini, PhD.
Docent(en) F. Giardini, PhD.
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
Understanding Social Networks. Theories, Concepts, and Findings C. Kadushin 9780195379471
Opmerkingen The book by Kadushin is available as ebook from the University Library. We will read a selection of chapters from that plus academic articles on network theories. The full list of required readings will be published later.
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
Course units for exchange students MSc level - Autumn semester (Sep-Jan) - semester I b keuze SO
Ma sociologie  (Ma sociologie (Sociologie van de Netwerksamenleving) ) 1 semester I b verplicht
Msc Philosophy, Politics and Economics 1 semester I b keuze