Workshop: How do we map social networks and how can we ’say stuff’ about the qualities and forms of relations within them?

If there is one thing that the qualitative social sciences have taught us, it is that humans are social beings who thrive within webs of ‘healthy’, ‘good quality’ relations and conversely may suffer when isolated and detached. Whether at home, among family and friends, in school, on the job or pursuing hobbies, possibilities for leading a ‘good life’ are often seen as reliant on whether or not a person is surrounded by supportive social networks that sustain social recognition, mutual care (both caring for and caring about) and common interests. Conversely, we know also that falling in with ‘a bad crowd’ can ultimately lead to detrimental outcomes.

With the advent of new digital methods, machine learning and forms of smart tracking, the kinds of questions we can ask about social networks and the forms and qualities of relations within them are changing. Moreover, interesting opportunities for linking up qualitative and quantitative data sets are also emerging. In this mini workshop, using concrete case studies, we will explore what new kinds of questions can be asked and explored about social networks using new social data science methods whether alone or in conjunction with qualitative methodologies, and how we can productively bring variegated data sets together.

All are welcome. Please register by sending an email to Agnete Vienberg Hansen


Mapping the complete social networks of an entire village in South Korea
Prof. Yoosik Youm, Department of Sociology, Yonsei University, South Korea.

What kind of data would be proper to measure the social structure of a community?  The ‘Korean Social life, Health, and Aging Project’ (KSHAP) is a panel data trying to capture the social structure of a village by measuring the social networks of older adults. All the older adults in the village were asked to enumerate their discussion partners up to seven people based on real names so that we can map out the complete social networks of the entire village. In addition to the traditional demographic information such as age, gender, educational level, the KSHAP could produce a series of social network measures including size, density, centrality positions, K-core, closure, etc. In addition to the social network survey, the KSHAP also included psychical examination including blood drawing and fMRI brain scans to produce various biomarkers.  This presentation will overview the data collection process of the KSHAP and some selected health-related research outcomes.

Virtual ethnography through/on Facebook
Dr. Natasja Kingod, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Facebook is one of the largest social networking sites worldwide with more than 2 billion users and with an average of 90% access through mobile devices. Since Facebook launched its community pages function in 2010 people are increasingly using the platform to establish groups and communities among common interests such as diseases where health-related peer support provides tools and knowledge on how to live with illness. Due to the increase of interest in Facebook among people with various health conditions, many researchers have been drawn to the platform using various approaches and methodologies from data crawling and tracking software to traditional ethnographic approaches. My presentation draws on methodological reflections of a year of fieldwork for my PhD study as an online-offline ethnographer following Danish adults with type 1 diabetes into online and offline social spaces of peer to peer interaction. More specifically, I will outline the approach I used to both identify and map 17 communities, recruit members for an offline study, reflect on my my own level of ethnographic participation and the limitations to selected methodologies.

Let’s get closer: Measuring the effect of physical proximity using big data
Ph.D. student Kristoffer Glavind, Department of Economics and SODAS, University of Copenhagen

Physical distance between individuals in a central for the social interactions, but we know surprisingly little of in which way. The field proxemics was a big field within social psychology trough the 1960’s and 1970’s, but the field declined (partly) because of the cost of large scale observation. Now mobile phone data from the Social Fabric project, give new opportunities to observe the distance between people in everyday social interactions. I find that distance in social interactions is a strong measure of friendship, and show that for a range of characteristics homophily is correlated with lower distance in social interactions. Further I show preliminary evidence that misunderstanding the norms of proximity (by keeping either too little or too much distance to your peers) is correlated with significantly fewer social interactions.

All are welcome. Please register by sending an email to Agnete Vienberg Hansen

This event is part of the ongoing research collaboration between Yonsei University and the University of Copenhagen