Accès libre

If Parsons had Pajek: The Relevance of Midcentury Structural-Functionalism to Dynamic Network Analysis*

À propos de cet article


Social network analysis has been one of the most influential scientific revolutions of the past century. Its success has been due, in part, to its methodological sophistication and the emphasis it places on identifying and clearly depicting features of social structure. As such, social network analysis is often viewed in stark contrast to the structuralist paradigm that dominated the social sciences prior to its rise – structural–functionalism - in the mid-20th century. In this paper, we highlight important connections that exist between the key assumptions of social network analysis and the key tenets of some of the most influential structural-functional theories – especially those of Robert K. Merton and Talcott Parsons and their collaborators and followers. We reveal a substantial affinity between some of their most influential ideas and contemporary analysis of social network dynamics, in particular, and several ways in which their work could inform promising advances in this line of research. Our ultimate goal is to highlight the prospect of using these theories to guide future analyses of the dynamics of large social systems and the sequences of real-time action that compose them.

Volume Open
Sujets de la revue:
Social Sciences, other