Part 1. Development of a Methodology for Network
Research on Social Cohesion
Studies and Predictive Social Cohesion Theory D.R. WHITE, University of
California Irvine, NSF BCS-9978282
operational definition of social cohesion based on network
connectivity measures cohesiveness as the minimum number k of actors whose absence
would disconnect a group.Two members of a
group with cohesion level k automatically have at least k different ways of
being connected through independent paths.
A test of the measure is exemplified by successful prediction of
how a group, studied longitudinally during a period of conflict between leaders,
divides into two (Fig 1), based on cohesion and distance.
Fig 1. Snapshot of
friendships at successive points in time in a longitudinal study of friendship in a Karate club, with leaders labeled T
and A and levels of cohesion coded by color. When members with ties to both leaders T and A are
forced to choose between them, removing the redlines, two cohesive hierarchies form that bifurcate the club.
Data source: Wayne Zachary, 1977. An Information
Flow Model for
Conflict and Fission in Small Groups. Journal of Anthropological Research 33:452-73.