This session is aimed at exploring empirical studies combining social network analysis and ethnographic/qualitative research and in particular research programs that support the joint application of these approaches and/or integrate them in a mixed methods perspective.
The use of ethnographies and field observations in social network analysis is long established and dates to the origins of the relational approach; qualitative research, however, has long been perceived as a supporting methodological step in the primary process of SNA research (Fuhse and Mutzel, 2011). Qualitive techniques were often required to provide detailed and insightful data about interpersonal relations among individuals or in groups, while theory development was arranged in the form of social networks analytical results. Improvements in the organization of qualitative studies and in the management of multiple sources of research data (field notes, audio and video recordings, interviews and focus groups, as well as digitalized archive data and artefacts) have paved the way for results’ interpretations from a duality perspective (Mohr,2000; Kirchner and Mohr, 2010). Paying attention to structural and relational processes in fact requires that both micro processual relationality and interpretations of participants to social life are recognized and situated in time and space and, accordingly to the social network perspective, re-combined to represent the interaction logics and dynamic configurations of individuals, groups and institutions (Benrhard, 2019; Hofmann, 2019).
The goal of the session is to discuss and provide factual evidence of this methodological turn and debate what is the role of theory in mixed methods research with SNA and qualitative techniques. Accordingly, presentations are expected to address methodological issues and reflexivity about past field experiences in combining SNA and qualitative research. The session welcomes in particular contributions with qualitative empirical investigations and case studies involving:
• management of ethnographic observations for SNA empirical research
• use of archive and secondary ethnographic sources for SNA
• reliable and insightful coding techniques for combining multiple sources
• narratives networks of social events and cultural processes
Mixed methods research, ethnography and SNA (social network analysis), structural and interpretative coding, narrative networks and analytic perspective of culture.
Bernhard, S., 2018. Analysing meaning-making in network ties. A qualitative approach, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, 1, pp.1-11.
Fuhse J.A. and S. Mutzel, 2011. Tackling connections, structure, and meaning in networks: Quantitative and qualitative methods in sociological network research, Quality and Quantity 45, 5, pp. 1067-1089.
Hoffman M. A., 2019. The Materiality of Ideology: Cultural Consumption and Political Thought after the American Revolution, American Journal of Sociology, 125,1, pp. 1-62.
Kirchner C. and J. W. Mohr, 2010. Meanings and relations: An introduction to the study of language, discourse and networks, Poetics, 38, 6, pp. 555-566.
Mohr, J.W., 2000. Introduction: structures, institutions, and cultural analysis, Poetics 27, pp. 57–68.