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Structural Cohesion and Embeddedness: A Hierarchical Conception of Social Groups

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  • James Moody
  • Douglas R. White

Abstract

While questions about social cohesion lie at the core of our discipline, no clear definition of cohesion exists. We present a definition of structural cohesion based on network connectivity that leads to an operationalization of a dimension of social embeddedness. Structural cohesion is defined as the minimum number of actors who, if removed from a group, would disconnect the group. This definition leads to hierarchically nested groups, where highly cohesive groups are embedded within less cohesive groups. An algorithm developed and implemented (by Authors) identifies these nested groups by levels of structural cohesion, and thus measures the maximum levels of structural cohesion possessed by individuals as members of structurally cohesive subgroups. We discuss the theoretical implications of this definition and demonstrate the empirical applicability of our conception of nestedness by testing the predicted correlates of our cohesion measure within high school friendship and interlocking directorate networks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Working Papers with number 00-08-049.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:00-08-049

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Cited by:
  1. Pramila Krishnan & Emanuela Sciubba, 2006. "Links and Architecture in Village Networks," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0614, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  2. Fernando Rajulton & Zenaida Ravanera & Roderic Beaujot, 2007. "Measuring Social Cohesion: An Experiment using the Canadian National Survey of Giving, Volunteering, and Participating," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 80(3), pages 461-492, February.
  3. Doo Kim & Ji Kim, 2013. "Social Relations and School Life Satisfaction in South Korea," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 112(1), pages 105-127, May.
  4. Russo, Margherita & Rossi, Federica, 2008. "Cooperation networks and innovation: A complex system perspective to the analysis and evaluation of a EU regional innovation policy programme," MPRA Paper 10156, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. R. Quentin Grafton & Stephen Knowles & P. Dorian Owen, 2002. "Social Divergence and Productivity: Making a Connection," The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress, in: Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director & France St-Hilaire, Vice-President , Research & Keith Banting, Di (ed.), The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2002: Towards a Social Understanding of Productivity, volume 2 Centre for the Study of Living Standards & The Institutute for Research on Public Policy.
  6. Geys, Benny, 2012. "Association membership and generalised trust: Are connections between associations losing their value?," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-101, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  7. Arora, Saurabh & Sanditov, Bulat, 2009. "Caste as Community? Networks of social affinity in a South Indian village," MERIT Working Papers 037, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  8. Hannes Andréasson & Niklas Elert & Nils Karlson, 2013. "Does Social Cohesion Really Promote Reforms?," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 33, WWWforEurope.

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