Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-p2v8j Total loading time: 0.001 Render date: 2024-05-23T17:14:57.525Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

12 - Networks and Culture

from Part II - Seeing Structure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 September 2023

Craig M. Rawlings
Duke University, North Carolina
Jeffrey A. Smith
Nova Scotia Health Authority
James Moody
Duke University, North Carolina
Daniel A. McFarland
Stanford University, California
Get access


Is culture the glue that holds the social structures of society together? Or are there “culture wars” that fundamentally divide us? Clearly, the answer is somewhere in the middle, and trying to understand precisely how culture and social structure interrelate to unite or divide remains a core sociological endeavor. Social network analysis alone cannot resolve such an enormous puzzle, but its methods provide important tools for formalizing a jointly structural and cultural approach to studying society. In this chapter, we conclude Part II on Seeing Structure by outlining efforts to see dualities in the connections between structure and culture – that is, to study how enduring patterns of interaction interrelate with shared understandings, tastes, meanings, and other attitudinal measures. We also discuss the structural analysis of meanings themselves and the application of social network techniques to cultural phenomena.

Network Analysis
Integrating Social Network Theory, Method, and Application with R
, pp. 269 - 298
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Suggested Further Reading

Becker, Howard S. 1982. Art Worlds. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. (A classic work that describes artistic enterprises as involving a network of interrelated participants to bring them about.)Google Scholar
Bottero, Wendy, and Crossley, Nick. 2011. “Worlds, Fields and Networks: Becker, Bourdieu and the Structures of Social Relations.” Cultural Sociology 5(1): 99119. (Compares Becker, Bourdieu, and social network conceptualizations as applied to British punk subculture in late 1970s.)Google Scholar
Carley, Kathleen. 1994. “Extracting Culture through Textual Analysis.” Poetics 22(4): 291312. (Seminal work on semantic networks in texts and the methodology needed to bring them about.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Nooy, Wouter. 2003. “Fields and Networks: Correspondence Analysis and Social Network Analysis in the Framework of Field Theory.” Poetics 31(5–6): 305–27. (A nice comparison of Bourdieu’s correspondence analysis approach to finding deep structure with social network analysis’ approach to finding surface structures.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Franzosi, Roberto. 2004. From Words to Numbers: Narrative, Data, and Social Science. Vol. 22. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Provides a systematic approach to representing narratives quantitatively.)Google Scholar
Fuhse, Jan A. 2009. “The Meaning Structure of Social Networks.” Sociological Theory 27: 5173. (Describes how social opportunities of affiliations and connectivity collide with identities and expectations from roles and relations in interaction and interpretation to forge agreed-upon ties and have a feedback loop to those settings and types of tie/roles as scripts.)Google Scholar
Grimmer, Justin, Roberts, Margaret E., and Stewart, Brandon M.. 2022. Text as Data: A New Framework for Machine Learning and the Social Sciences. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (A recent overview textbook on quantitative analysis of text and natural language processing from a social science perspective.)Google Scholar
Kilduff, Martin, and Krackhardt, David. 2008. Interpersonal Networks in Organizations: Cognition, Personality, Dynamics and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Provides insights into within-organization network effects on leadership, performance, and organizational culture.)Google Scholar
Martin, John Levi. 2003. “What Is Field Theory?American Journal of Sociology 109(1): 149. (A relatively short overview and discussion of different conceptions of fields as latent forces.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McLean, Paul. 2016. Culture in Networks. New York: John Wiley & Sons. (Summary text that affords an overview of how networks and culture have been discussed in previous works. Builds from separate approaches to an increasingly melded and integrative perspective.)Google Scholar
Mohr, John W., Bail, Christopher A., Frye, Margaret et al. 2020. Measuring Culture. New York. Columbia University Press. (A useful theoretical overview of approaches to measuring meaning with formal methods.)Google Scholar
Moretti, Franco. 2007. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History. New York: Verso. (Offers a network perspective on literary texts and their internal plot structures.)Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats