A proposal for the Sociology of the Family series of Pine Forge Press.

Community and Social Cohesion: Computing and Genealogical Analysis in the Age of Cyberspace

Douglas R. White, editor, with contributions from Michael Houseman, Paul Jorion, Lilyan Brudner, Michael Schnegg, Vladimir Batagelj, Andrej Mrvar and Frank Harary.

The last decade has seen a reflorescence of the art: the study of community social structure, beginning with the genealogical linkages amongst community members. Genealogically based web sites have become one of the most popular noncommerical sites on the web. The internet burgeons with computerized genealogies organized by community, extended families, regions, and social registers. Formats for exchange of data allow researchers to assemble and integrate genealogical information from diverse sources. Commercial software and freeware provide database entry, graphics and diagrams, and various forms of structural and statistical analysis. Social network analysts turn to such data -- and the data of ethnography and social history -- to explore the structure of genealogical networks, the genealogical construction of community, social class, and various types of elites.

The recording and tracing genealogical linkages is one of the oldest human arts, going back well before the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Recognition of genealogical linkages is at the very core of the human experience. The thesis of this book is that computer-based and network studies of community genealogies are altering our concepts of social cohesion, social class, social structure and dynamics, marriage systems and strategies, in fundamental ways.

The analysis of community genealogies by computer has much to contribute to the humanities and social sciences and to the understanding of human communities and social histories. Newer concepts of cohesion, drawing on insights from anthropology, emphasize the distributed properties of social networks rather than the more limited concepts of proximity and centralized structure as the primary elements of cohesion. The collection of articles chronicles the work of a team of anthropological researchers and computer scientists in developing new methods and applications for the analysis of community genealogies. The book answers a need to respond to requests from students, social scientists and the public at large for guidance in the new concepts, findings and methods of analysis. The introduction reviews both the significance of the studies included in the volume, and the freeware and commercial programs available for ethnographers, historians and genealogists, both amateur and professional.

The next three foundational chapters (Part I) develop a graph representation and analytic framework that is specifically suited to the analysis of large genealogical and social networks. Examples include Old Testament Patriarchs, American Presidents, natives of interior Australia, and Indonesian villages.

Three elementary applications (Part II) begin with a chapter on the Indonesian community genealogies in which the analysis is rich with ethnographic detail and implications for the study of culture and social stratification. The next chapter surveys the concepts and genealogical data on dual organization among Amazonian Indians. The final chapter uses the insights gained about the genealogical network structure of dual organization generally to derive a new understanding of the dual organization typical of the culture areas of Dravidian South India and Sri Lanka, using data from a classical ethnographic study of Sir Edmund Leach.

Software and simulation methods for analysis of community genealogies are reviewed in the two chapters of Part III. The first chronicles the shift from Pgraph, the special purpose software used in the earlier articles, to Pajek, a more modern and general purpose analytic system designed and implemented as freeware by professional computer scientists for social network and genealogical analysis. The second chapter provides methods for evaluating structural and statistical studies of marriage systems by comparing results to those of computer simulation in which demographic features of a case study are held constant, but marriages are permuted to model what the society would look like with random partner selection rather than any specific marriage preferences or strategies. Comparisons to simulated models assess the relative contributions of demographic constraints versus marriages rules and strategies to various aspects of social structure and organization.

Using the newest methods of analysis, two advanced applications to community genealogy demonstrate in Part IV what can be learned from ethnographic and social historical studies carried out on a large scale, where community members number in the thousands, and the time span covers one or more centuries. These studies were designed and carried out by authors White and Brudner using genealogical interviews and archived historical records from manorial estates and parish registers. The first study, of an Austrian village in Carinthia in which farmsteads are passed relatively intact to single heirs, shows how a social class of farmstead heirs is reconstituted in each generation by structural endogamy, or matrimonial relinking among local families. The second study, of a Mexican village in Tlaxcala, shows how regional social integration within a single rural social class is achieved both by structural endogamy within the local village and by a more wide ranging relinking of families through ritual kinship via the compadre relationship between parents and godparents.

The concluding section introduces a new conception of social cohesion that is appropriate for community genealogy, and is consistent with the findings of our ethnographic studies. A final chapter sums up what is learned through these studies of the structure and dynamics of human communities using community genealogy as an analytical scaffolding without which our understanding of human social relationships is incomplete.

Except for a new introduction and conclusion, all the articles in this proposed volume are reprinted from refereed social science or simulation journals. The appendices include an article on new concepts of structural analysis for community genealogy published in the leading French anthropological journal, and manuals for the Pgraph and Pajek computer programs in abbreviated form.


Introduction: Community Genealogies (new)

I. Foundations

Chapter 1. "Representing and Analyzing Kinship: A Network Approach" (Douglas R. White & Paul Jorion) Current Anthropology 33:454-462. 1992.

Chapter 2. "Kinship Networks and Discrete Structure Theory: Applications and Implications" (Douglas R. White & Paul Jorion). Social Networks 18:267-314. 1996.

Chapter 3. "Structural Endogamy and the Graphe de Parent»." (Douglas R. White). Mathematiques, Informatique, et Sciences Humaines 137:107-125. 1997.

II. Elementary Applications to Community Genealogy

Chapter 4. "Kinship, Property and Stratification in Rural Java: A Network Analysis" (Douglas R. White & Thomas Schweizer) pp. 36-58 in Kinship, Networks and Exchange, eds. Thomas Schweizer and Douglas R. White. Cambridge University Press. 1998.

Chapter 5. "Taking Sides: Marriage Networks and Dravidian Kinship in Lowland South America" (Michael Houseman & Douglas R. White) Transformations of Kinship, pp. 214-243 in eds. Maurice Godelier, Thomas Trautmann and F.Tjon Sie Fat, Smithsonian Institution Press. 1998.

Chapter 6. "Network Mediation of Exchange Structures: Ambilateral Sidedness and Property Flows in Pul Eliya" (Michael Houseman & Douglas R. White). pp. 59-89 in Kinship, Networks and Exchange, eds. Thomas Schweizer and Douglas R. White. Cambridge University Press. 1998.

III. Software and Simulation

Chapter 7. "Analyzing Large Kinship and Marriage Networks with Pgraph and Pajek" (Douglas R. White, Vladimir Batagelj & Andrej Mrvar) Social Science Computer Review 17(3):245-274. 1999.

Chapter 8. "Elementary Simulation of Marriage Systems." (Douglas R. White). Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 2, no. 3. 2000.

IV. Advanced Applications to Community Genealogy

Chapter 9. "Class, Property and Structural Endogamy: Visualizing Networked Histories" (Lilyan A. Brudner & Douglas R. White). Theory and Society 25:161-208. 1997.

Chapter 10. "Multiple Connectivities, its Boundaries and Integration: Kinship and Compadrazgo in Rural Tlaxcala" (Douglas R. White, Michael Schnegg, Lilyan Brudner & Hugo G. Nutini) Social Networks: Theory and Applications eds. Jorge Gil and Samuel Schmidt. (In Press in Spanish) Mexico, D.F.: UNAM Press. 2000.

V. Conclusions

Chapter 11. "Social Cohesion: Network Connectivity and Conditional Density" (Frank Harary and Douglas R. White). 2000.

Chapter 12. "What we have learned: Community Cohesion and Genealogical Analysis" (new)


"Structures r»ticulaires de la pratique matrimoniale" (Michael Houseman & Douglas R. White) L'Homme 139:59-85. 1996

Excerpts from "Parent» Suite: User's Manual for Analysis of Kinship and Marriage Networks" (Douglas R. White & Patricia Skyhorse), in V. Burton, T. Finnigan, D. Herr, eds., Multimedia Renaissance in Social Science Computing. CD-ROM. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. Hard Copy: Wayfarer: Charting Advances in Social Science Computing. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

"Pajek: A Reference Guide" (Vladimir Batagelj & Andrej Mrvar).

CD Rom: All the above, plus

"Pajek, the Large Network Analysis Package" (Vladimir Batagelj & Andrej Mrvar).

GSview freeware (for printing graphs). L. Peter Deutsch.

Tool Kit for Structural Analysis of Genealogical Data and Kinship and Marriage Networks. Douglas R. White. [accessible after Jan 31, 2001]