Sociology 204: Social Networks
Monday and Wednesday: 10:00am-10:50am
Location: McCosh 28
Instructor: Matthew Salganik
Preceptors: Karen Levy and Lauren Senesac
This course provides students an introduction to the study of social networks. We will focus on understanding the causes and consequences of the patterns of relationships between individuals. Topics will include the small-world puzzle (six degrees of separation), the strength of weak ties, centrality, data collection, and the spread of diseases and fads.
Student grades will be based on the following:
- In-class final exam: 45%
This in-class exam will cover the material from the entire semester. The exam will be Saturday, January 15th from 1:30pm to 4:30pm in McCosh 28.
- Midterm exam: 25%
The date of the midterm exam will be Wednesday, October 27, 2010.
- Homework/Precept: 30%
Each precept session will have an assignment that will serve as the the basis of the discussion. Some assignments will involve simple data collection and analysis, while others will involve writing assignments. Hard copies of these assignments will be due in class each Wednesday. If you cannot be in class on Wednesday, you can email your assignment to the leader of your precept, but they must receive it by 10am on Wednesday. If you do not turn in your assignment on time, you can still turn it in at your precept for a reduced grade (half credit). After your precept, you will not be able to submit your assignment unless you have a letter from the Dean of your college.
Numeric grades will be converted to letter grades at the end of the semester based on a standard scale.
There is one required text for the class: Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age by Duncan Watts. Other readings are available on the web or from blackboard. To understand the flow of ideas, students should do the readings for each lecture in the order that they are listed on the syllabus.
Course introduction (9/20/10)
The connected age and the small world problem (9/22/10)
- Watts, Preface and Chapter 1.
- Milgram, S. (1967). The small world problem. Psychology Today, 1:62-67 [Available from blackboard].
- Travers, J. and Milgram, S. (1969). An experimental study of the small world problem. Sociometry, 32(4):425-443.
- Kleinfeld, J.S. (2002). The small world problem. Society, 39(2):61-66 [Available from blackboard].
More on the small world problem and some history (9/27/10)
- Granovetter, M. (2003). Ignorance, knowledge, and outcomes in a small world. Science, 301:773-774.
- Dodds, P.S., Muhamad, R., and Watts, D.J. (2003). An experimental study of search in a global social networks. Science, 301:827-829.
- Watts, Chapter 2.
- Erdos-Reyni random graph animation
Understanding the small world phenomena (9/29/10)
Degree distributions and power laws (10/4/10)
- Watts, Chapter 4, 101-114.
- Barabasi, A.L. and Bonabeau, E. (2003) Scale-free networks. Scientific American, 50-59 [available from blackboard].
- Barabasi, A.L. and Albert, R. (1999) The emergence of scaling in random networks. Science, 286:509-512.
- Barabasi-Albert random graph animation
- Liljeros, F. et al. (2001). The web of human sexual contacts. Nature, 411:907-908 with comment and rejoinder.
Affiliation networks/2-mode data (10/6/10)
Social search and the small world problem (10/11/10)
Spread of disease in networks (10/13/10)
The "madness" of crowds (10/18/10)
- Watts, Chapter 7.
- Asch, S.E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, 193(5):31-35 [available on blackboard].
- Bikhchandani, S. Hirshleifer, D. and Welch, O. (1998). Learning from the behavior of others: Conformity, fads, and informational cascades. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3):151-170.
- Tierney, J. (2007). Diet and fat: A severe case of mistaken consensus. New York Times.
Thresholds, cascades, and predictability (10/20/10)
Cascades and fads in cultural markets (10/25/10)
- Hedstrom, P. (2006). Experimental macro sociology: Predicting the next best seller. Science, 311:786-787.
- Salganik, M.J., Dodds, P.S., and Watts, D.J. (2006). Experimental study of inequality and unpredictability in an artificial cultural market. Science, 311:854-856.
- Salganik, M.J., and Watts, D.J. (2008). Leading the herd astray: Experimental study of self-fulfilling prophecies in an artificial cultural market. Social Psychology Quarterly, 71:338-355.
Midterm Exam (10/27/10)
- Because of the midterm exam, there will be no precepts this week. After the exam we will have fall break.
Strength of weak ties (11/8/10)
More strength of weak ties (11/10/10)
Contagion of health behavior (11/15/10)
Experimental studies of contagion (11/17/10)
Friends of friends (11/22/10)
Sampling, social networks, and hidden populations most at-risk for HIV/AIDS (11/24/10)
- Salganik, M.J. and Heckathorn, D.D. (2004). Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent-driven sampling. Sociological Methodology, 34:193-239.
- Bernard, H.R. et al. (2010). Counting hard-to-count populations: The network scale-up method for public health. Sexually Transmitted Infections. [available from blackboard].
- There will be no precepts this week because of Thanksgiving.
- McPherson, M, Smith-Lovin, L., and Cook, J.M. (2001). Birds of a feather: Homophily in social networks. Annual Review of Sociology, 27:415-444.
- Segal, M.W. (1974). Alphabet and attraction: An unobtrusive measure of the effect of propinquity in a field setting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30(5):654-657.
- Kossinets, G. and Watts, D.J. (2009). Origins of Homophily in an Evolving Social Network. American Journal of Sociology, 115(2)405-450.
Friendship formation (12/01/10)
- Small, M.L. (2010). Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life: Chapters 1-3 (pages 3-83) [available from blackboard].
- Uzzi, B. and Dunlap, S. (2005) How to build your network Harvard Business Review, 83(12):53-60.
Core discussion networks (12/6/10)
- Fountain, H. (2006). The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier. The New York Times, July 2.
- McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., and Brashears, M.E. (2006). Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades. American Sociological Review, 71(3):353-375.
- Fischer, C. (2009). The 2004 GSS Finding of Shrunken Social Networks: An Artifact? American Sociological Review, 74(4):657-669.
- McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., and Brashears, M.E. (2009). Models and Marginals: Using Survey Evidence to Study Social Networks. American Sociological Review, 74(4):670-681.
Structural holes, closure, and social capital (12/8/10)
Digital traces of communication: mobile phones (12/13/10)
Digital traces of communication: Facebook and Twitter (12/15/10)
- Bakshy, E., Hofman, J.M., Mason, W.A., Watts, D.J. (2011) Everyone's an Influencer: Quantifying Influence on Twitter, Fourth International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining.
- Wimmer, A. and Lewis, K. (2010). Beyond and below racial homophily. ERG models of a friendship network documented on Facebook, American Journal of Sociology, in press.