Music culture as a social network (Fall 2011)
short link: http://bit.ly/mcsn
MUSIC 466/566 LEC A1 T R 11:00AM - 12:20PM
(available for undergraduate or graduate credit)
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, and small-world networks. But the idea of using graph theory to understand social groups and culture goes back nearly a century, while social networks themselves are intrinsic to being human. 
Ethnomusicology is typically defined as the study of music in society or the study of music as culture...if social network analysis (SNA) is an important approach towards understanding society and culture, then it follows that SNA should also provide an insightful means of thinking in ethnomusicology, and a productive tool for ethnomusicological research.
Yet few ethnomusicologists have explored SNA's possibilities, perhaps because SNA appears inaccessible, filed under "mathematical sociology," while music scholars have tended to prefer the more qualitative, critical, and interpretive approaches of the human sciences. SNA also presents some challenging methodological difficulties for fieldworkers - mapping social networks is not always easy, practically and ethically. Yet SNA's origins lies in social anthropology, a field with longstanding connections to ethnomusicology. Methodologically SNA is more feasible today, with the emergence of online virtual communities, defined by social networking websites, and other electronic communications. And the basic mathematics required to understand SNA is quite elementary.
This seminar-workshop attempts to bridge the gap between traditional humanistic scholarship and SNA by providing a gentle introduction to methods, theories, and issues in social network analysis,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; network aspects of celebrity formation; exploring communities of musical taste; understanding the circulation of online music; analyzing the role of music in the structure of online social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace...and others specifically devoted to music); investigating networks of musical friendship, prestige, and respect; examining linkages between music sites on the Internet; considering networks generated by musical collaborations (e.g. composer-lyricist relations); the overlap of friendship and musical collaboration network; small world networks in the arts (c.f. Degrees of Kevin Bacon); affiliation networks of numerous types; and many other topics.
Course work and goals include:
- lectures and discussions
- problem sets, to learn and reinforce concepts
- two short quizzes, to encourage learning of SNA concepts
- computer “lab work”, using free SNA software tools (mainly Pajek) to develop an intuitive grasp of network concepts
- data collection via participant-observation, survey fieldwork, or online data mining
- designing and completing a small research project, including planning, fieldwork, analysis, and interpretation.
There is no final exam.
You will be expected to bring a laptop to class, as we will use the software together.
An outline is forthcoming - please watch this space!
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.) (succinct summary)
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)
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!)
NodeXL for Excel (Windows only)
International Network for Social Network Analysis (professional society - with lots of links, naturally!)
David Easley and Jon Kleinberg's Interdisciplinary networks course at Cornell University (cross-listed in computer science, economics, sociology, information science)
Kinds of music networks
- affiliation networks (musicians/groups)
- relation between friendship networks and musical attributes (taste, performance, consumption, breadth)
- structure of musician communication networks
- product networks (co-purchase, e.g. Amazon)
- musical flow/awareness
- communication networks in performance
- transmission: teaching and learning networks
- networks of musical collaboration (e.g. composer/lyricist networks, co-member networks)
- small world networks
- musical prestige and authority
- scale-free networks & celebrity
- egonets and music attributes (performance, consumption, taste, breadth)
- citation and co-author networks
Examples of online networks
- Twitter. Entities: users. Relation: following (unidirectional). Information flow: tweets, retweets.
- Facebook. Entities: users. Relation: friendship (bidirectional); like (unidirectional); groups and events (affiliation) . Information flow: status.
- Amazon. Entities: products. Relation: bought A -> bought B.