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Living in Networks
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: October 2020
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online ISBN: 9781108882392
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Book description

How do personal networks emerge from social contexts? How do these evolve during the course of a lifetime? How are relationships established, maintained, connected, disrupted? How does the structure of a network evolve as people face transitions and events? Based on a classic text originally published in France and that has become the standard on the empirical study of social networks there, for the first time, a network analysis perspective is extended from contexts and social circles to relationships and life events through empirical studies. Following in the tradition of personal network studies, this contribution to the field of structural analysis in Sociology offers both a synthesis of knowledge and original results from two immense surveys carried out in France. This volume proposes an original theory grounded in relational dynamics, offering novel perspectives on individual social relations over the course of a lifetime through the context of personal networks, access to social resources, and inequalities.


'This wonderful book takes networks a giant step further, going beyond one-shot descriptions of personal networks to dynamic analyses of how personal networks change over time as people grow up, leave home, get married and unmarried, work and retire. Through it, we see the networks of France living and breathing. From virus to romance and social capital, the authors show how networks both cluster locally and leap around the world.'

Barry Wellman - Director, NetLab Network

'Bidart, Degenne, and Grossetti’s Living in Networks is a significant contribution to our understanding of individuals’ personal relationships. Through pictures and detailed stories, Bidart and colleagues show how over many years people build, dismantle, and then rebuild their personal ties to the social world. The variety of paths they describe is persuasive and compelling. Living in Networks will have an important place on any network analyst’s shelf.'

Claude S. Fischer - University of California, Berkeley

'Living in Networks will help you understand you and your personal network. Drawing on two rich sets of data, the authors elaborate on a number of relational concepts like social circles, embedding and dissembedding mechanisms, dissociation, densification, centralization, and decentralization. This book explains convincingly the dynamics of personal relations across the life-course, the influence of education, social class, mobility, internet, and even chance. Read it. You will understand why your world is how it is.'

José Luis Molina - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


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