World Catalogue Listings
Amazon book citations to Douglas R. White
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The book combines complexity theory with a contribution to understanding of Middle Eastern social structure through an ethnographic study of network dynamics. - it is 500 pages and chock full of diagrams and illustrations. Using network visualization and the study of the dynamics of marriage choices, Network Analysis and Ethnographic Problems expands the theory of social practice to show how changes in the structure of a society's kinship network affect the development of social cohesion over time. Using the genealogical networks of a Turkish nomad clan, the authors explore how changes in network cohesion are indicative of key processes of social change. This approach alters in fundamental ways the anthropological concepts of social structure, organizational dynamics, social cohesion, marriage strategies, as well as the study of community politics within the dynamics of ongoing personal interaction.
BOOK REVIEW International Journal of Middle East Studies: November 2006 pp.603-605.
Alvin Wolfe writes in the 2006 International Journal of Middle East Studies vol.38 no.4 (pp.603-605)
"White and Johansen have produced what could be the most important book in anthropology in fifty years."
"Whether the reader is interested in kinship, in economics, in politics, or in history, this book might
be considered must reading.... The book begins with an introduction to network analysis in relation to ethnography,
providing a succinct history of network thinking, including recent developments in various disciplines about
network topology and dynamics. The authors point out that 'taking a network path to coding and analysis'
in ethnography leads to the ability to understand the emergence of social structural phenomena that would otherwise remain unobserved."
"White and Johansen's "network analysis" is entirely different from the "network analysis" that was a rage for a while in the 1960s and 70s.... The metaphor added nothing but a false sense of coherence, easily deflated by closer inspection.
"Network analysis, as White has been developing it and as he and Johansen apply it here, is not just one technique or method but a whole armamentarium of them, united under a system of general and powerful conceptions of social organization as such. It is such an enormous advance over what anthropologists called network analysis in the 1960s and 70s that it is almost a type of negative advertising to call it by the same name, yet there is a connection. White and Johansen actually deliver what those analyses promised--and then keep going." - Murray J. Leaf, University of Texas at Dallas
"This book presents a brilliant example of the application of network analysis to kinship. . . .The applied value of this study cannot be overestimated because kin structures still play important social (and sometimes political) roles in many societies. . . .This pioneering study establishes methodology that will be in demand in anthropology, political science, economics, legal studies, and Middle Eastern studies." - Andrey Korotayev, Research Fellow, Oriental Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Gerd Spittler, a specialist for North African nomads, Prof. and head of the department of anthropology of the university of Bayreuth in Southern Germany. He wrote a letter to Rowman and tell them that he uses our book for teaching, and that there should be a less expensive paperback edition so that students can buy the book too -- Ulla Johansen
I re-read the introduction to your book on the turkish nomads, which I think is excellent and am assigning it to the PhD students at Torino, to whom I will lecture for a week on an introduction to complexity. It is the best (only?) text that combines insights from complexity theory, social network analysis and the new work on so-called complex networks (small world, scale free etc) in a coherent synthesis, exactly what I was looking for. --- David Lane, External faculty, Santa Fe Institute; Department of Economics, Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
Book Draft, Social Networks Jeroen Bruggeman
Dear Professor White,
Since all current textbooks on social networks are outdated (e.g. Scott, Degenne and Forse, and even Pajek-based de Nooy et al 2005), I wrote a new one that covers spin glass models and other recent literature, as well as the igraph package of R, of which the next release will have your social cohesion measure implemented. Of course your conceptualization of social cohesion receives attention in my book (Section 5, manuscript attached; and see footnote 3). Therefore I would be most interested to know what you think about it.
The exercises and most of the material (that I initially wrote in Dutch) I have tested on my students, and in its current order and way of treatment, fourth year sociology students can understand most of it and some all of it. What I haven't tried on students yet is my explanation of the computer program R, but that I'll do next month.
book draft: [[SNBook_015.doc]]
Jeroen Bruggeman. 2008. Social Networks (Routledge) Chapter 5 (Communities) p.44: "What then is is the structure of advanced sccial cohesion among humans? The best answer to this question so far was gven by anthropologist Douglas
(not to be confused with Harrison) White and his associates around the turn of the millennium. Their writings
have a scope and depth seldom seen in sociology and anthropology (Wolfe 2006), and whether it's Turkish nomads
(White and Johansen 2005) or biotechnology (Powell et al. 2005), you name it and they've analyzed it,
and always better than anyone before them did." (3 pps of review of this work follow)
p. 3: "In general, the network approach complements other approaches to social phenomena in its systematic treatment of social relations, e.g., in sociology (H. White 1992), anthropology (D. White and Johansen 2005), ...."
p. 20: "As a side remark, social networks is a field where ideographic approaches (stressing uniqueness of a phenomena, e.g., ethnography) and nomothetic approaches (stressing law-likeness) can seamlessly blend together (see Boissevain and Mitchell 1973; Mitchell 1969; Schweizer 1992, D. White and Johansen 2005)."
Harrison White. 2008 (2nd edition. of 1992). Identity & Control: How Social Formations Emerge Princeton:
Princeton University Press.
p. 351: "And I now draw a parallel with a novel set of methods applied by anthropologist Douglas White, with several different collaborators, to very different sets of data.
Begin with an original new conceptualization and measurement of cohesion from embeddedness in a peper by James Moody... under the knife of White's novel algorithms (Moody and White 2003).... The apparent messiness of multiple, sprawling overlappings is turned into an asset after application of leverage from a deep theorem on connectivity of graphs published in 1927 by Menger."
"Moody and White portray cohesion ... so lucid[ly] and provide such complete context that you should consult it in preference to any sketch by me" [there follows his discussion of study results in terms of how structural cohesion provides the social texture for emergence of interactive style in social formations].
p. 352: "The climax for me is a recent book by Douglas White and Ulla Johansen (2006). In this remarkable monograph, they call for probing a qualitatively new sort of construct, [structural k-] cohesion. I regard it as a major independent dicovery of the gist of what I will argue, in the next section, as the core finding from the present exposition of theory."
Rating: Network Analysis for Comparative Politics, July 28, 2005
Reviewer: T. Martin Doyle (Riverside, California) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
The White and Johansen approach to "network analysis" provides the framework for unparalleled examination of sub-national political behavior. This tool for nonlinear dynamic analysis encourages detailed assessment of highly decentralized self-organizing local governance structures otherwise unavailable through state level scrutiny. Those involved in the study of comparative politics will come to appreciate the meticulous findings exacted through use of this "network" construction. Additionally, examining the interaction of inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, or transnational advocacy networks with state government infrastructure becomes far more precise, compliments of White and Johansen.
Rating: - Review of White and Johansen--Network Analysis
White and Johansen's "network analysis" is entirely different from the "network analysis" that was a rage for a while in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1960's many anthropologists and sociologists looked for "social structure" as a unitary system that encompassed and controlled people in society. When they could not find any real phenomenon that fit this description they shifted from the idea that society was a "structure" to the idea that it was a "network," creating what they called "network analysis." Network analysis in that sense, like "structural analysis" and "structural functional analysis" before it, was simply description "as if," and the basic problem was that it was wrong. Society is not a network any more than it is a structure. The metaphor added nothing but a false sense of coherence, easily deflated by closer inspection.
"The most explicit development of the method and theory of network analysis in anthropology has been that conducted by a small group of American anthropologists who are much more closely aligned to SNA as it has been developed in Sociology. Their aim is to use social network analyses in their work alongside other mathematical forms of analysis as a complement to ethnographic research (Schweizer 1997; Schweizer and White 1998; White and Johansen Forthcoming) in particular in relation to kinship studies. These network theorists also position themselves against the limitations of structural and functional anthropology, stressing that nowadays in particular, with the development of more sophisticated analytical techniques made possible by increasing computer power, it is possible to make assertions regarding social structure by using network analyses in ways which acknowledge complexity and change at the micro-level. Rather than using network analysis to reveal a static structure, anthropological network theorists see themselves as asking “a series of questions about emergent properties in kinship networks, about how structures change, and about the role of individual actors versus systemic effects in the processes of change”(Schweizer and White 1998: 4-5)." p. 9
Related comments: "Structural approaches to kinship and marriage are notoriously unsuited to the study of change, neglectful of agency, and ill-fitted to the analysis of choices. I am therefore working rather within an alternative tradition which runs from Malinowski to Bourdieu and that pays particular attention to the uses of kinship as a tactical resource. Recent advances in network theory are extremely relevant here. In February 2006 I will visit the USA to work with Professor Douglas White (University of California, Irvine) who is developing new models for the study of complex kinship networks." Adam Kuper, 2005
John Mohr. University of California Santa Barbara.
The essays in this outstanding volume uniformly interweave rich contextual data with beautifully crafted formal network methods to yield new and often powerful insights into kinship systems, exchange structures, and, more generally, social processes of fundamental importance to human societies.
Peter S. Bearman. Sociology Chair, Columbia University.
D. R. White and V. Duquenne, eds., Special Issue: SOCIAL NETWORK AND DISCRETE STRUCTURE ANALYSIS. Elsevier Press: Social Networks journal.