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Social network analysis: Core elites & peripheral monkeys

The great thing of working with social network analysis is that is a truly inter- and transdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approach. Network analysts come from such diverse backgrounds as sociology, physics, psychology, biology or, as in my case, political science (and more).

This interdisciplinary approach can sometimes lead to quite funny moments when all these perspectives mix – like in this 2000 article by Borgatti & Everett (own highlight):

A common image in social network analysis […] is that of the core/periphery structure. […] [I]t occurs in studies of national elites and collective action […], interlocking directorates[…], scientific citation networks […], and proximity among Japanese monkeys […].

This is probably meant to be a dry account of the knowledge on core-periphery studies in network science at the time, yet it shows that, from a – purely abstract! – network perspective, political and economic elites are not that different to groups of monkeys.

We can be glad here in EU politics that this is just a purely theoretical perspective; in reality it does thus not apply for EU leaders.



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