Social network analysis takes as its starting point the premise that social life is created primarily and most importantly by relations and the patterns formed by these relations, which we call social networks. By studying behaviour as embedded in social networks, sociologists in this area explain macro-level patterns not simply as a large number of people acting similarly because they are similar, but as a large number of people acting on one another to shape one another’s actions in ways that create particular outcomes.

Social network analysis is both a theoretical perspective and a method for studying the social relationships that make up our social worlds and our communities. By measuring the character of ties between individuals, scholars in this area study phenomena such as communication patterns, occupational success, diffusion processes, and collective action.

Faculty members whose area of specialization is the study of Networks and Community are: Bonnie Erickson, Patricia Landolt, Vanina Leschziner, and Alexandra Marin.