INA is a project initiated by Professor Miguel Angel Centeno of Princeton University's Sociology Department and is being pursued in collaboration with Eszter Hargittai of the same department and numerous Associates.


Globalization involves a variety of links expanding and tightening a web of political, economic and cultural inter-connections (Mittelman 1997, Hirst and Thompson, 1996). Most attention has been devoted to merchandise trade as it has had the most immediate (or most visible) consequences, but capital, in and of itself, has come to play an arguably even larger role than the trade in material goods. Human movements also link previously separate communities. Labor, while still subject to much greater control than capital, moves transnationaly while tourism now involves an estimated 600 million international travelers a year and serves as a major economic sector for several countries. Finally, there is the cultural connection. The ubiquity of CNN is already something of a cliché, and entertainment industry budgets now make calculations on the basis of a global market. Hollywood and Silicon Valley software entertains and informs the world. All the individual data would indicate that we are undergoing a process of compression of international time and space and an intensification of international relations. The separation of production and consumption that is the heart of modern capitalism appears to have reached its zenith. Globalization is not just another "buzz-word" (globaloney?), but very much a real and significant phenomenon.

But, what does it mean? What does a globalized world look like? Despite the extensive discussion on globalization and international interdependence, we still have a relatively limited idea of what this new world looks like. We understand that there are more international connections taking place, that a wider variety of goods and services are being exchanged across boundaries, that more and more people live their professional, family, and intellectual lives in more than one country, and that cultural autarky is no longer possible. Yet, we know little more than that. How fast have we integrated? What does the global web look like? Who is in the center and who is on the margins? Have these positions shifted over the past two decades?

Network analysis is perfectly suited to these types of questions and represents the best metaphor for the new global system (Castells 1996). Unlike other metatheoretical approaches, network analysis assumes a multipolar social world (Knoke and Kuklinski 1982). While most other methods consider hierarchical relationships in pyramidal forms, network analysis can define them in an infinite variety of geometric shapesÑprecisely what one may expect from a global web. Network analysis can tell us the relative density of global connections, the relative strength of ties between countries and regions, and the extent to which these have changed over the past two decades.

Some initial work has already been done on measuring various forms of global contact using network language and methods (Nemeth and Smith 1985, Smith and White 1992, Snyder and Kick 1979). This research has included studies of trade patterns, capital flows, airplane traffic, and telephone communication. It has also included analysis of the transmission of idea and policy frameworks (Meyer, et al 1997). Thus far, however, much of this work has been focused on generating models or findings of interest to network theorists. They have rarely been used to understand globalization. More importantly, the different data sets rarely speak to each other (Kellerman 1993 is a rare exception). While we might know the pattern of relationships in trade or communications, we do not know how these are linked to transnational labor movements, tourism, or the spread of cultural icons such as CNN or even the Spice Girls. How do the exchanges of goods, money, services, and persons relate to the transmission of ideas and policy paradigms?

The combination of various network data sets and analyses would allow us to link network position in a particular field (e.g. telecommunications) with that in another (e.g. migration). With longitudinal data, we could begin to explore the extent to which position in a particular network could explain or predict subsequent position in another. By adding non-network data such as economic growth rates, policy votes, or cultural trends, we could also test the explanatory power of network position in and of itself. These efforts would allow us to begin addressing some of the most important questions in contemporary social science:

  • What are the relationships between political decisions and economic outcomes?
  • How are policies shaped by cultural understandings?
  • How do economic markets transform cultures?
  • What is the hierarchy of global power? What is the shape of the global hierarchy?
  • Are we heading towards a new multipolar world? Would culture, political alliances, or economic links define these poles?
  • How interdependent are we?

Such an exercise will also inform further research on networks. One major weakness of network analysis is that while it has already produced interesting work where networks serve as the causal variable, the shape of any individual network is rarely explained or analyzed as a dependent variable (Emirbayer and Goodwin 1994). By linking a variety of measures of social, political, and economic ties, we may begin to discover which types of relationships beget the others.

** View the works cited in the previous section.



The purpose of the Archive is to assemble data sets relevant to empirical research on mapping the global web in a central location and to standardize them so the various indicators can be combined. Given the immense amount of work that defining a global web involves we argue for disseminating the raw data as widely as possible so as to recruit the largest possible number of collaborators.
Specifing project components include:

  • Collecting various network data sets (e.g. communication, trade, tourism, policy issues, migration)
  • Establishing a uniform format for these so that they can be combined in models
  • Making data publicly available on our Website



This project has several thematic components. We are specifically interested in global communication and information technologies, international inequality, and issues of international security.

The first project undertaken by the Archive concerns "Mapping the Global Web."

Global Communication and Information Technologies

The enthusiasm associated with new information technologies often overlooks the fact that globally there are only a few active members in the new information infrastructure. If the Internet serves as the electronic foundation for globalization, then the global web is much more hierarchical than many realize. Over 95% of Internet connected machines are in developed societies while users and companies of one country - the United States - account for over 90% of the most popular Web sites. At the same time, due to the multiplicity of services made possible by new information technologies, small communities across the globe have greater access to an international audience. The global web represents an opportunity for a more democratic international system, but also for the intensification of inequality. Who is really taking part in the information exchange? Who is benefiting from it and how? What does it mean to be excluded from it? What does the information web really look like? Such basic questions remain largely unanswered. The Archive would provide a map for understanding the composition and consequences of the global information society by emphasizing the relational position of countries in a world of communication flows. Providing parallel data on other international exchanges would allow us to integrate developments in international communications into a broader vision of globalization.

International Inequality

The triumphalism that often characterizes discussions of globalization too often neglects the fact that it has not affected everyone equally. No matter what indicator one may use (trade, communication, etc.) significant parts of the world are essentially outside of the new global society. In some cases, whole countries are excluded, e.g. North Korea is isolated ideologically, Sierra Leone economically. This is not to say that the global economy or political divisions do not affect what goes on in these countries, but that the vast majority of citizens and institutions do not regularly interact with the rest of the world. Generally, we may speak of the global society as consisting of a core group of countries largely defined by the OECD with some "hangers-on". On the bottom, there is a group (much of Africa, for example) largely isolated from these trends. In-between are perhaps the most interesting countries where significant groups of people and large parts of the economy have been transformed by international contacts, but where isolated regions and groups also exist in significant numbers. What is the precise shape of this global hierarchy? What accounts for the different rates of participation? What does it mean to be excluded? Such basic questions remain largely unanswered. Our project would provide a map for understanding the composition and consequences of the global society by emphasizing the relational position of countries in a world of flows and exchanges.



Miguel Angel Centeno
Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
Wallace Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544

Email: cenmiga at princeton dot edu
Associate Director
Eszter Hargittai
Department of Sociology
Wallace Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544

Email: eszter at princeton dot edu



The Staff would like to thank the following for their assistance regarding various tasks involved with the creation and maintenance of the Archive.

Thanks to:

Paul DiMaggio of the Sociology Department at Princeton University for his general support of the project and his helpful comments on various written materials regarding the Archive.

Stanley Katz of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton for his helpful comments on the project proposal.

Rich Persaud for his helpful comments regarding the data management part of the project.

Frank Dobbin of the Sociology Department at Princeton University for his comments on our mission statement.

Sue White, United Nations Librarian in the Social Science Reference Center of Firestone Library, Princeton University for her suggestions regarding the archival aspect of the project and copyright issues.

Don Broach, Data Specialist in the Social Science Reference Center of Firestone Library for suggestions regarding the data archival part of the project.

The Sociology Department of Princeton University for hosting the center.

Jon Harris of Flaming Toast Productions, LLC for the design and production of this website.


References to Motivation text above

Emirbayer, Mustafa and Jeff Goodwin, 1994. "Network Analysis, Culture, and the Problem of Agency." American Journal of Sociology, 99, 6, pp. 1411-54.

Hirst, Paul and Grahame Thompson. 1996. Globalization in Question. London: Polity Press.

Kellerman, Aharon. 1993. "Interdependence and Autonomy in International Communications", in Edward Bakis, Ronald Abler, and Edward Roche, eds. Corporate Networks, International Telecommunications and Interdependence. London: Belhaven Press.

Knoke, David and James H. Kuklinski. 1982. Network Analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Meyer, John, J. Boli, G.M. Thomas, and F.O. Ramirez. 1997, "World Society and the Nation State", American Journal of Sociology, 103.

Mittelman, James H. 1996. "How Does Globalization Really Work". In James H. Mittelman, ed., Globalization: Critical Reflections. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Nemeth, Roger, and David Smith. 1985. "International Trade and World System Structure: A Multiple Network Analysis", Review, 8, 4, 517-560.

Smith, David, and Douglas White. 1992. "Structure and Dynamics of the Global economy: A Network Analysis of International Trade 1965-1980," Social Forces, 70, 4, pp. 857-893.

Snyder, David and Edward Kick. 1979. "The World System and World Trade: An Empirical Exploration of Conceptual Conflicts", Sociological Quaterly, 20,1, 23-36.