Difference between revisions of "Music culture as a social network (Fall 2011)"

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[http://www.insna.org/ International Network for Social Network Analysis]
[http://netwiki.amath.unc.edu/ Wiki for SNA]
[http://netwiki.amath.unc.edu/ Wiki for SNA]
[http://www.insna.org/ International Network for Social Network Analysis]

Revision as of 16:01, 7 March 2011


These days, social networks seem to be everywhere, especially with the advent of "social networking" as a catchphrase, new web-based social networking services such as Facebook, and popularization of social network concepts such as "six degrees of separation". But the idea of using graph theory to understand social groups and culture goes back nearly a century, while the existence of social networks dates to the dawn of humanity, if not before...

Ethnomusicology is the study of music in society or music as culture...if SNA is an important approach to understanding society and culture, then it should also be an important way of thinking about ethnomusicology. Yet few ethnomusicologists have explored the possibilities, perhaps because SNA is generally classed under "mathematical sociology" while music studies tends to stick to the more qualitative, interpretive, humanistic side of the social sciences.

This seminar-workshop attempts to bridge the gap by offering students specializing in the arts and humanities a gentle introduction to contemporary social network analysis (SNA), in theory and in practice, with applications to ethnomusicology. You won’t merely read about social network analysis, you’ll actually do it!

Ethnomusicological applications of SNA include understanding the ways musicians and audiences interact in performance; the analysis of fame as a network; exploring communities of musical taste; understanding the circulation of online music; analyzing the structure of online social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace...and others specifically devoted to music); investigating networks of musical friendship, prestige, and respect; examining music sites on the Internet as a social network; networks generated by musical collaborations; the overlap of friendship and musical collaboration network; small world networks in the arts (e.g. ); and many other topics.

Course work and goals include:

  • weekly lectures and discussions
  • weekly reading and problem-solving exercises, to learn and reinforce concepts
  • computer “lab work”, using free software tools (mainly Pajek) to develop an intuitive grasp of network concepts
  • data collection via observational or survey fieldwork, or online data-gathering
  • analyzing and interpreting fieldwork data in term papers.

You will be expected to bring a laptop to class, as we will use the software together.

Required texts

Robert A. Hanneman and Mark Riddle. Introduction to social network methods (also available as a pdf. (Free.)

Wouter de Nooy, Andrej Mrvar, and Vladimir Batagelj, Exploratory Social Network Analysis with Pajek, illustrated edition. (Cambridge University Press, 2005). (Available in the SUB bookstore.)

John P Scott, Social Network Analysis: A Handbook, 2nd ed. (Sage Publications Ltd, 2000). (Available in the SUB bookstore.)

Optional texts

Linton C. Freeman, The Development of Social Network Analysis: A Study in the Sociology of Science (Empirical Press, 2004). (for those interested in SNA"s intellectual history)

Wasserman, Stanley and Faust, Katherine. Social network analysis methods and applications. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press; 1994. (for those who want a more complete and rigorous treatment)

Popular treatments

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means (Plume, 2003).

Duncan J. Watts, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004).

Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Back Bay Books, 2002).

Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (New York: Little, Brown and Company). (A popular science treatment.)

Software (all free!)

Pajek for Windows or Mac (required - accompanies textbook)

NodeXL for Excel






International Network for Social Network Analysis

Wiki for SNA