Historical network analysis combines attention to structure (characteristic of social network analysis) and attention to temporality (characteristic of historical sociology). This is an ongoing project that I am pursuing with Balazs Vedres.
Structural Folds: Generative Disruption in Overlapping Groups
What is a social group across time in network terms? This is the key sociological question that Balazs Vedres and I address in this paper. We identify a distinctive network position - the structural fold - at the overlap of cohesive group structures. We show that this structure contributes to creative disruption: groups with structural folds show higher performance but are also more unstable. In the final part of the paper we identify lineages of cohesion: across a longer time frame, groups separate and reunite in an ongoing pattern of interweaving.
American Journal of Sociology January 2010, 115(4): 1150-90.
Social Times of Network Spaces: Network Sequences and Foreign Investment in Hungary
In this paper, Balazs Vedres and I develop a social sequence analysis to identify distinctive pathways whereby firms use network resources to buffer uncertainty, hide or restructure assets, or gain knowledge and legitimacy. In place of properties of the global network, we focus on variation in local properties. In place of a single system time, we model the processes of social times. Our contribution to a more historical network analysis does not simply include time as a variable but, instead, recognizes time as variable.
American Journal of Sociology, March 2006, 111(5):1367-1411.
Political Holes in the Economy: The Business Network of Partisan Firms in Hungary
When firms reach out to allies in the political field, the logic of partisanship can constrain the choice of business partners in the economy. Balazs Vedres and I interviewed CEOs and politicians in Hungary and constructed a dataset of all senior managers and boards of directors of the largest 1,696 corporations and the complete set of all political officeholders. Firms of either left or right political affiliation exhibit a preference for partnerships with firms in the same political camp while avoiding ties with firms in the opposite camp. Subsequently, firms with politically balanced boards seize a brokerage opportunity to occupy the political holes in the economy opened up by the growing division between left and right.
American Sociological Review, October 2012, 77(5):700-722.