Endre Sik is the new president of the Hungarian Sociological Association.... Charles Wetherell (Hist) & associates at U Cal - Riverside have received a $2.3M NIMH family studies grant to analyze the networks of anglos and latinos in Southern California.... Miguel Guilarte now Associate Dean, Human and Organization Development, The Fielding Inst, Santa Barbara CA 93105-3544 (email@example.com).... John Walsh promoted to tenured Assoc. Prof of Soc, U Illinois - Chicago.... Barry Wellman (Soc, U Toronto) has received an $80K SSHRCC research grant to study computer networks as social networks.... Steve Cole returned to US, 4/97, from U Queensland (Australia) to be at Russell Sage Fdn, NYC.... Replacing long-term (& founding) editor Steve Duck, Mark Fine will edit the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships starting in 1998.... Nan Lin (Duke) running for VP of the Amer Soc Assoc; Alejandro Portes running for Pres of the same assoc. Portes is moving to Princeton U....
....Yanjie Bian (Soc, U Minn) will be on leave 9/97-6/99 at the Division of Social Science, Hong Kong U of Sci &Tech. He's getting there in time for the big July 1 changeover; a catnet event for sure. (BTW, would someone please tell me why right-wing folks never mention that it was Margaret Thatcher -- with American right-wing acquiescence -- who agreed to this change of regime without consulting the folks living there. The standard explanations -- fresh water, electricity -- don't ring true for a HK government that has money to burn [on its new airport] that could have been spent on desalination and nuclear energy plants.] Yanjie is also the principal investigator of a 3-year grant from the Henry Luce Fdn. to study consumer behavior and material cultural in Tianjin, Shanghai, Wuhan and Haikou. He also has a $84K grant from the Chiang Ching Kuo Fdn.
....Gustavo Mesch (Soc) awarded $10K as the
Dusty Miller Fellow, rewarding U Haifa (Israel) "outstanding
young scholar" for 1997.... Anatol Rapoport
elected honorary life president of Science for Peace (Canada)....
Melvin Oliver has been doing well by doing good.
First he won the 1995 C. Wright Mills award (with co-author
Thomas Shapiro) for their Black Wealth/White Wealth book
(Routledge). Second, he has moved from Soc, UCLA to be a
principal VP of the Ford Fdn. in charge of giving away
megamillions to build community and combat poverty. Melvin did an
outstanding study of black community networks in LA a while
ago.... Michel Forsé (Soc, U Lille I, France)
& Simon Langlois (Soc, Laval, Que) have won
the biannual award of the Saintours Fdn, Acad. des Sciences
Morales et Politiques for their book, Tendances Comparées
des Sociétés Post-industrielles.... Eight of the 21 most
prolific recent sociology authors in the ASR or AJS
are network analysts or fellow travelers: Jim Coleman,
Claude Fischer, David Knoke, Ed Laumann, Nan Lin, Gerald Marwell,
Alejandro Portes and Eric Olin Wright.
(See Elisabeth Clemens, et al. "Careers in Print: Books,
Journals and Scholarly Reputations," Am J of Soc
....Claude Fischer (Soc, U Cal-Berkeley) won
the 1996 Lifetime Contribution award from the Amer Sociological
Assoc's "Community and Urban" section.... Beverly
Silver (Soc, Johns Hopkins) won the 1996 Distinguished
article award from the ASA's "Political Economy of the World
System" section for "Labor unrest and world-system
analysis: premises, concepts and measurement" and
"World-scale patterns of labor-capital conflict: labor
unrest, long waves, and cycles of world hegemony" (Review,
18, 1, Winter 1995).... Leonard Pearlin (Soc, U
Maryland)won the 1996 Distinguished Contribution award from the
ASA's "Mental Health" section, while Charles
Tilly (Soc, Columbia U) won the 1996 Distinguished
Scholarship award from the ASA's "Collective Behavior and
Social Movements" section for Popular Contention in
Great Britain, 1754-1837 (Harvard U Press).
Steve Borgatti, Russ Bernard, Gery Ryan, Dave Kenny,
Michael Schnegg, Bev Wellman and Barry Wellman
will be in Geneva the last 2 weeks of July, 1997, teaching at the
first all-Swiss summer graduate school in social science methods.
Steve, Russ, Michael and Gery are doing qualitative research
methods, Dave is doing multilevel analysis (ties/nets), while Bev
and I are doing social network analysis.... Meanwhile Stanley
Wasserman continues to give his annual (& wonderful)
1-week summer workshop in social network methods at the ICPSR, U
If you share my interests in studying computer networks as
social networks, I recommend the Communications and
Technology section of the International
Communication Assoc (largely American, despite its
name). The CAT section at ICA's 5/97 Montreal conference was
filled with germane papers. The next year's is in Jerusalem,
20-24 July 98, one of my favourite cities (although really hot in
July). For further info visit
http://www.io.com/~icahdq/ica/ica.html. Or call +1-512-454-8299
or email icahdq@ uts.cc.utexas.edu. Paper submission deadline is
1 Nov 97. The CAT program chair is network analyst Leah Lievrouw,
Lib & Info Sci, UCLA, Los Angeles 90095-1520. Tel:
+1-310-825-1840; email: llievrou@ ucla.edu (warning: she is
sometimes slow to answer). What with the Barcelona Sunbelt in
5/98 (aptly named, we hope), there will be many junkets for
non-Europeans next summer.
The American Sociological Assoc is meeting in
beautiful downtown Toronto 9-13 Aug 97. (Warning it can be hot
and muggy.) A lot of social network sessions are officially on
the program, and we've infiltrated several others. For example, I
am heading one on the internet -- inherently a social network.
Bonnie Erickson is hoping to put together a networkers' party,
probably at her husband's hapkido studio. Black belt rather than
You can also go to Montreal, 5/98 for the International
Sociology Assoc's World Congress, 26 July - 1 Aug. (It's
usually a bit cooler than Toronto.) INSNA is now an affiliated
society with the ISA, and in return we get the right to hold 2
sessions. I'm organizing them: firstname.lastname@example.org (please
no archaic, intrusive phone calls). The deadline for submitting a
2-3 page abstract is 1 Feb 98 (email is fine). However, if you
think you'd probably like to participate, I would dearly love to
know this asap as I may be able to get us more sessions if the
demand is there. Or else, we could meet off-premises as we once
did for the Toronto World Congress.
Peter Carrington is organizing another network analysis
session for the ISA's Research Committee on Logic and Methods of
Research. You can contact him at: email@example.com. I
don't know what Peter's deadline is; it may well be earlier than
mine. INSNA (thru me) is co-organizing this session so that Peter
and I can coordinate papers.
Shalom Yoran's The Defiant (NY: St. Martin's Press,
1996) tells of the author's 4 years as a partisan against the
Nazis in the Polish-Belarus woods. Partisan survival and fighting
was very much of a network activity rather than rigidly organized
groups. Not as heavy going as some might think.
I'm currently enthralled by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, The
Beggar and the Professor: A Sixteenth-Century Family Saga (U
Chicago Pr.) Written with as much verve and intimacy as a good
novel, it provides a rich texture of everyday life of the
Swiss-based Platter family. Lots of travel, sex, health-care,
conflict and social support. Of course, I particularly like the
way it shows how much non-local travel and networking went on,
and the support it gives for Bev Wellman's findings that
"alternative health-care" is whatever the official
medicine of the time says it isn't. Originally published as Le
siècle des Platter, 1499-1628. Tome premier: Le mendiant et le
professeur (Lib. Arthème Fayard). That "tome
premiere" suggests more good stuff to come. Ladurie, a
Paris-based Annaliste doyen, also wrote the wonderful Montaillou,
a community study of a late Middle Ages French Pyrenean village.
My favourite search engine is Alta Vista
because of its strategy of empirically inducing ongoing search
categories from the hits it first finds. By contrast, Yahoo, et
al. pre-determine categories. Of course, the AV strategy is an
essential part of social network analysis, especially the
philosophy of blockmodelling and fuzzy sets, while Yahoo is the
kind of old-line categorical thinking I denounced in the first
chapter of Wellman & Berkowitz, Social Structures
(JAI Press, 1997).
An even greater move towards network-informed searches
has been proposed by Stephen Gallant, Belmont Research, Cambridge
MA. He's received a patent (#5,317,507) for an algorithm that
lets "a computer read a text for not only a key word but
also for a constellation of words and their contextual
relationship to that key word. For every word in a DB, the
program creates a complex map with 300 coordinates" that
correspond to individual concepts of 1+ words and are like 300
fixed nodes in a sea of terminology. Each document is assessed in
terms of its relationship to all the nodes, with each document in
a search weighted according to their importance. ["Adding
Precision to a Data Search." NY Times, 13 June 94.
For more info, you can buy the patent for $3 from Patent &
Trademark Office, Washington DC, 20231].
My favorite bibliographic tool is Endnote
2 Plus (Niles Associates, Berkeley CA), which runs
on both Windows and Macs. It has all the features I like: lots of
fields for keywords, et al.; ability to handle large DBs (I have
7,400 entries); good Boolean sorts; automatic reformatting for
different journals' styles (with lots of templates provided plus
the ability to create/modify your own). The latest version, 2.3,
integrates well with Word Perfect and MS Word.
While I avoid Bill's projects when I can, the Word Perfect
integration is fine -- Endnote even shows up on the WP
menu. It's tricks like this that make me fascinated with object
oriented programming. I still don't fully get it, but my working
understanding is that OOP facilitates software networks instead
of discrete bounded programs. (Another defeat for categorical
I'm not personally using Nud.ist 4 (the newest
Windows version) for textual analysis, but the
folks around me say it is much improved in interfaces and its
ability to handle large files. (Sage [Thousand Oaks, CA] now
distributes this through its Scolari division.)
Text analysis mavens might want to check out Diction 4.0
for Windows which marks up text to identify their language's
certainty, activity, optimism, realism, and commonality. I
haven't tried it, but I'd love to apply it to transcripts of our
university meetings. $133 from Sage/Scolari.
I'm now considering buying the Methodologist's Toolchest (also for Windows via Sage/Scolari) although its $304 price slows me down. It seems like a neat grab-bag: a "peer review emulator" which walks your article or proposal through the kinds of comments a reviewer might make; a 'statistical navigator" to help select and justify appropriate research statistics; "ex-sample" to help determine sample size; "designer research" for research design, "which graph" to identify the proper graph to use, "data collection selection" to help pick a method, "measurement and scaling strategist" to help develop questions and choose measurement levels and "ethx" to keep you ethical. I'd love some feedback on this.
And when you write up your research, Sandia National Labs (Los
Alamos, NM, which used to make H-bombs) has come up with
graphical visualization software that analyzes connections
between 3 million scientific papers. [Source: Wired,
UCINET 5.0 for Windows 95/NT by is almost ready for release! A
beta version of the program is available on the web at
Why Do Economists Drive Hondas? The
classic putdown to economists is "If you're so smart, how
come you're not rich?" Yet social and information networks
soon render economists' supposedly superior knowledge useless,
for as soon as they place buy/sell orders they provide to others
information about their information. Unless one has truly unique
information and is able to hide that knowledge, a variation on
Gödel's theorem kicks in: you cannot understand a social fact
and make much money from it because the market would soon adapt
to render your understanding invalid. For example, economic
statistics that once predicted to recessions now predict to when
governments will make policy changes intended to ward off
recessions. "To take my own sad case, do not believe your
brilliant former student at the Univ of Chicago when he comes up
with a scheme, in which other economists have invested, to make
money out of a glitch in the foreign-exchange market. On that
one, I lost half my $10,000 in a weekend." [Donald McCloskey
(Econ, U Iowa), "An Economic Uncertainty Principle," Scientific
American, 11/94: 107].
Why Economists Should Only be Allowed to Drive
Model Cars: "We economists like to talk about
'externalities.' In our models, the costs of job dislocation,
health-care insecurities, rising family violence, environmental
damage, and cultural collapse are all deemed 'external.' External
to what? If we do not internalize these 'externalities,' we
economists provide a serious disservice to this country."
[Honors economics graduate Juinchi Semitsu's commencement address
to U Cal Berkeley, as reported by the Knight-Ridder Newspapers
via the Toronto Star, 24 May 96. BW: Will he/she sing
the same tune post Ph.D?]
The Scam that Wasn't a Conspiracy but is Related
to a Scandal: By now, even Canadian nationalists
have accepted that the controversy about the Bre-X "gold
find" in Indonesia was a case of almost-industrialized gold
"salting" and not (as some had thought), a case of
American mining giant Freeport McMoran conspiring (in cahoots
with influential Indonesians) to drive the price of Bre-X stock
down. (This was clearly a situation where having inside knowledge
about when to buy and sell would have paid off
big.) However, Freeport doesn't get off clean, because the Bre-X
story highlighted the "virtual colony" Freeport
operates in its huge gold and copper mines in Irian Jaya (western
New Guinea), Indonesia. The Australian Council for Overseas Aid
reported (94/95), Freeport security personnel "engaged in
acts of intimidation, extracted forced confessions, shot 3
civilians, disappeared 5 Dani villagers and arrested and tortured
13 people." In a twist of diffusion of innovation, the
Amungme people of the area have filed a $6-billion lawsuit
against Freeport in its New Orleans home town. [Next City,
1/97: 21]. Sounds like a great TV show for Law and Order.
Interlocks: Corporate interlock
research has long been a network speciality, although less active
in the past decade. SEI Financial Services now sells a database
(on 2 CDS) that spells out for the first time which pension funds
own which of $180 billion of Canadian corporate stock. (For
example, Gryphon Investment Counsel held 6.5 million Bre-X
shares, once worth C$142 million, now worth nothing.) The CDS are
updated 4x/year. They're not cheap (C$1,000/yr). For info,
contact Mary Garrone at SEI. [Source: Andrew Willis, "Data
Base Reveals Who Owns What." Toronto Globe & Mail,
23 May 97].
For another source of data, you might check Richard Barnet
& John Cavanagh, Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and
the New World Order (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1994). It's a
semi-popular account, written by folks at the Washington-based
Inst for Policy Studies. One lovely anecdote: After Texas
Instruments got the US government to negotiate to protect its
microchip expertise and market from Japanese competition, it
moved chip design to East Asian places with low labor costs and
trained people: Baguio, Philippines and Bangalore, India.
The Old Boy Network Didn't Know Itself:
The new British Labour government has just removed regulatory
authority from the London Stock Exchange. Perhaps this note from
the ancient Major/Conservative regime helps explain why:
"Unlike the more sophisticated American system, [the LSE]
does not have the ability to match old school friends, golfing
partners, or club membership lists in a cross-checking system
that could throw up a key connection." [Philip Robinson,
"Alarm Bells Ring" London Daily Telegraph, 9
July 94: B2].
Behind Every Tory: Why didn't the
British Conservatives jump to the centrist Social Democratic
Party? Ivor Crew & Anthony King argue (in SDP,
Oxford U Press) that the wives of Tory MPs dissuaded their
husbands from defecting, for fear of losing their networks and
incomes. "Most of my consultancies disappeared within 3
weeks," says Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, the lone Tory
MP who joined the SDP before the last election." [Economist,
14 Oct 9].
TransNationals: Corporate Watch has
a website dedicated to monitoring the activities of transnational
corporations, including their social, ecological and economic
impacts. The website also includes: a guide on how to research
transnationals; analyses of corporate globalizations; news from
various sources such as the Malaysia-based 3d World networks;
links to 100s of other websites with analyses of, or information,
produced by transnationals. It's a joint product of the
Transnational Resource & Action Ctr and the Inst for Global
Communications. Site address: http://www.corpwatch.org. For info,
contact Joshua Karliner, tel: +1-415-561-6567; fax:
+1-415-561-6493; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. [Press release, 12 Nov 96:
I haven't checked the site.]
New Career Opportunities for TransNational
Watchers: "Investigators have uncovered a
series of spy networks that have penetrated many of the world's
major oil companies, including Shell, British Petroleum and
Mobil.... An internal briefing paper by 1 US oil company states,
'We are now aware of the existence of many highly organized,
sophisticated networks of corruption operating on an
international scale.' The discovery has triggered a hunt for
moles.... [But] because payments are often concealed in Swiss or
Panamanian banks, proving that a spy is at work can be difficult.
[BW: Which re-raises the question: Why, really, did George
Bush/US invade Panama?].... The US oil company says, 'Vendors,
suppliers and subcontractors have often felt intimidated by these
brokers, who often provide convincing evidence of their ability
to steer an award in the direction that suits them. If vendor A
will not engage their services, they will threaten to represent
vendor B and ensure that vendor A is disadvantaged.' [BW: The
beauty of structural holes.] Usually, an information broker
concentrates on trying to make a deal with the vendor most likely
to win, because the information broker gets paid 'commission' --
2 to 4% of the contract -- only if his or her vendor gets the
contract. Sometimes a broker in 1 city will obtain inside
information and pass it to a broker in another city, who in turn
passes it to a supplier, and then the commission is split."
In other words, the friend of my friend is a mark! [Wall
Street Journal, via Toronto Globe & Mail, 10
Global Business Network: The GBN was
founded in 1988 as a think tank/consulting company. There is no
formal membership; "one simply gets more and more tangled in
its swirling mists. I was first asked to join a discussion on the
network's private BBS. Then I started receiving books that
members thought I might find interesting. Then I got invited to
gatherings at fascinating places, from Aspen to Amsterdam.
Finally, I was asked to help GBN project the future, regarding
subjects about which I had expertise. By then, the network seemed
natural." For example, one futurology seminar had folks from
the Singapore Min of Defense, the Australian Min of Taxation, the
Mexican Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, Volvo, Fiat,
Petroleos de Venezuela, Allstate, DuPont, Arco, Saatchi &
Saatchi, Amex, and the Club of Rome. For spice, there were Jon
McIntire, former manager of the Grateful Dead and theoretical
neuorphysiologist William Calvin. The agenda for 1 day was
labeled "The Restructuring of the World Economy."
"People are hungry for new views and outside-the-box
thinking. 'Systematic shows will make or break companies,' says 1
GBN client. 'Little curiosities today could be major trends
tomorrow.'" [Joel Garreau [author of Edge City
& The 9 Regions of North America), "Conspiracy
of Heretics," Wired, 11/94: 98-106, 154-58].
When Elites Get Studied, They Don't Like It:
The British House of Lords got in a tizzy when ACT, a private
investigations firm, sent leaflets to the members offering to
obtain people's bank statements, telephone bills and details of
their salaries. ACT offered to supply a company's client list,
plans for public financing and other details. Its leaflet
suggested, "It's not who you know. It's what you know about
who you know." [Economist, 23 April 94: 61]
Annals of Scientific Paranoia: As
soon as I heard that 60s Harvard undergrad Ted Kaczynski was
charged with being the Unabomber, I started wondering if I'd been
his TA then. My fears were not alone. FBI agents "were
disappointed with many of the scientists they interviewed. They
found them a trying, arrogant lot. One agent said, 'They called
us all the time. "Did you get a suspicious package?" we
asked. No, no package, but they want us to protect them anyway.
They thought their accomplishments would make them
targets.'" [Anne Eisenberg, "Among the Papers in
Kaczynski's Cabin," Scientific American, 6/96: 25].
The Transitoriness of Strong Ties:
"Throughout Mao's career the most persistent pattern has
been one of building and then breaking personal ties with
associates, first with superiors, and then with subordinates, and
especially potent successors.... [The] story of Mao's falling out
with colleagues is in fact the history of the Chinese Communist
movement. For once Mao achieved some position of authority in the
Party, he began a remarkable pattern of intimacy followed by
abandonment." [Lucien Pye, Mao Tse-Tung, Basic
Books, 1976: 271-72].
BW: Lucien Pye also wrote a remarkable book in which he
attributed the failure of Burmese development to Burmese boys'
extended period of breast feeding [Politics, Personality, and
Nation Building: Burma's Search for Identity. New
Haven: Yale University Press. 1968.]And with respect to the
turnover in Mao's pals, recall that among stable East Yorkers
(Toronto), only 27% of active ties were around ten years later
(Wellman, et al. Social Networks, 1997).
Towards a Networked Europe: "In
my view it is of critical importance to distinguish between
institutional Europe, the Europe of Brussels and the statist
Europe of the commissars, on the one hand, and the real Europe,
on the other. What we have seen is a sort of hijacking of the
concept of Europe, a usurpation. Brussels Europe was always a
small club from which half of Europe was excluded. That is very
different from the real Europe which consists of millions of
economic and personal relationships, mixed marriages, movements
of people, contacts, and acquaintances. Each of us can take a
notebook from his pocket and it will turn out that 80% of the
addresses in contains go to make up this European network. That
is at least as important as the Treaty of Maastricht. [Hans
Magnus Enzensberger, "Back to the Future," NY
Review of Books, 17 Nov 94: 43].
US Military Now Surfing: No, this is
not the kind of surfing exulted in by Robert Duvall in
"Apocalypse Now." The military's School of Information
Warfare and Strategy has developed a course of study around the Third
Wave notions of Alvin and Heidi Toffler. (BW: Newt Gingrich
likes them too; but to be fair, the Tofflers aren't all bad, even
if they are derivative.) The military particularly likes the
Tofflers' "wave theory" that society -- and war -- is
passing into a post-industrial information age from a second wave
industrial era. (BW: Didn't Daniel Bell say this 30 years ago?
Just to confuse things, the data are much more equivocal: It
depends on who/what you count as being in the information
sector.) [Gary Stix, "Fighting Future Wars," Scientific
American, 12/95: 96].
Community and Migration: When
Togolese refugees from repression fled to neighboring Benin, many
were taken in by kin. "It's the first time in the experience
of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that private citizens
have taken in people," said UN mission chief, Guinet
Guibre-Christos. "It must be West African hospitality."
However, after years of living together, the prolonged
togetherness and crowding are taking their toll. [Toronto
Globe and Mail, 26 Nov 94: D4].
Community Saved: Toronto's St.
Stephen's Community House (near where I live) has set up a
"Neighbours Helping Neighbours" project. It links
people by forming circles of 4 to 5 helpers around each senior or
disabled person. [Drum, 9/94: 5].
"You may have read that the San Luis Obispo [CA] city
council was considering an addition to the city's general plan
that would require front porches on new residential construction,
with the explicit intention of fostering neighborhood
interaction.... Artificial attempts to preserve the closeness of
this community will probably be overwhelmed by the inevitable
reasons why a growing population turns away from relationships
that are arbitrary and involuntary. The front porches of our
neighborhood are almost always vacant. It has to do with the
ever-expanding range of choices we have. When we gain a new
freedom, we tend to exploit it immediately without realizing what
we're giving up." [Ken Broomfield's letter to the editor, Byte
(computer magazine), 8/94: 18.]
Community Subcultural: Catherine
Hughes & Jane Morrigan are a lesbian couple living in rural
Pictou, Nova Scotia. "Allies are not always obvious,"
said Morrigan. "We've won over some conservative farmers
because they admire hard workers, and at the same time we've been
betrayed by some of our sisters." Hughes won a bronze medal
for the 1,500 meter race in the 1994 Gay Games in New York City.
She said, "[We hoped] that during the games we'd find
solidarity and tolerance and solidarity and deviance, and that is
exactly what we discovered right from the start." Morrigan
continues, "I also loved being in the city, among so many
different kinds of people, all of whom seemed to be getting
along. New Yorkers who weren't queer were stopping to give us
directions and chat. It seemed to me that for them we were just
another ethnic group.... Even though people back home warned us
to be careful, particularly when riding the subways, I have to
tell you that after a couple of days I felt safer here than at
home." [Michael Kaufman, "A Lesbian Farm Couple Expand
their Horizons," NY Times, 29 June 94].
"Networking -- now being recognized by feminist historians
as a method by which many women exerted power and influence in
response to their exclusion from official channels was [English
africanist Mary] Kingsley's forte [at the turn of this
century]... At the most basic level, Kingsley attempted to form a
consolidated anti-Colonial Office pro-trader caucus by building
bridges between different sets of interests, regardless, as
Kingsley put it, 'who they ate foo foo with'. She introduced the
'malaria man' Ronald Ross to Matthew Natah, Acting Governor of
Sierra Leone; the anthropologist Ling Roth to the Liverpool
merchant John Holt; and Holt to the financial Editor of the
[London] Times.... [She] also attempted to draw prominent West
Africans into her political network,... receiving much of her
information from her correspondents in West Africa who were also
frequent visitors to her London flat. 'I have had here quantities
of blacks' she wrote.... [She also exploited the social contacts
she held as a woman, receiving information from government
officials', traders' and academicians' wives.... [It is a] legacy
of networking and bridge building." [Deborah Birkett,
"Networking West Africa," a review of Katherine Frank, A
Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley. In African
Affairs, 87, 1/88: 118-119.]
Community Connected: In Toronto and
some US cities, community activists are setting up programs to
provide homeless people with voice-mail boxes." [Now
(Toronto), 1 June 95].
Community Lost: "I don't like
videos. There's something squalid about a video store. The people
look furtive, like drug addicts, as they take them out in stacks
of 4 or 5. It's like people who drink alone. It's one thing to
drink at a party, another to drink alone. One thing to go to an
assembly hall and watch big illusions, another thing to take them
home in a little can." [Novelist John Updike in the NY
Times, reprinted in the Vancouver Sun, 13 April 96:
Community ReFound: According to the NY
Times, Bedford (Westchester County), NY is becoming the
prime celebrity node. "The Hamptons are all Hollywooded out.
Now we're getting serious Hollywood people," says real
estate agent Sally Stano. Glenn Close often teams with
Christopher Reeve to support the local school; where Susan
Sarandon and Tim Robbins' kids also go. Plus the Ramones and
Mariah Carey-Tommy Motolla. Karen Ramone says, "We BBQ.
Chevy Chase will call and say, 'Hey, I've got some veal steaks
defrosting' and we'll say, `We'll bring the salad.' It's just
getting the families together and having a great time." All
is not great, despite $24K/year property taxes. Advertising
magnate Jerry Della Femina: "If there is one problem with
Bedford, it's that the beautiful people like to see other
beautiful people, and there are not enough places to go out and
do that. It's a place for really confident beautiful people who
don't need others around them constantly to confirm that they are
beautiful." [Debra West, "Who Needs a House in Beverly
Hills?" NY Times, 15 May 97].
"Networks and partnerships are also an important part of
community development. These provide mentoring to young
companies, organize financing for new businesses, bring educators
together with business, create opportunities for companies in the
same industry for skills training, exports, or introduction of
new production techniques." [David Crane, "Communities
Taking Charge of their Economic Futures," Toronto Star, 4
Feb 95]. And Dewanna Lofton echoed the thought in an article
written during the 1996 Charleston Sunbelt: "Networking Key
to Black Business Success." In the Columbia State,
she asserts, "The more people you know, the more potential
access to resources you command." [22Feb96]. Wonder if she
took courses from Borgatti, Faust, Skvoretz and Willer?
Community Capitalized: Richard
Liebmann-Smith, an editor of American Health Magazine, has
written a humor piece: "Managed Caring (tm)". In the
spirit of the US health HMOs, it's "a whole new way of
thinking about friendship, combining all the advantages of a
'traditional' friendship with important cost-saving features.
Under the Plan, you choose your friends from a pre-screen
accredit Friendship Providers. All of your friendship needs are
met by members of your Managed Caring panel.... Your friendship
needs are coordinated by a designated Best Friend, who Cares
about the quality of all your Friendships.... The only time you
can see a friendship Provider without first consulting your Best
Friend is in the event of a Friendship Emergency.... Typical
Friendship Procedures covered include (but are not limited to):
Chewing the fat, slinging the bull, shooting the breeze, ...
holding your hand.... Ineligible services include drinking in
excess of 6 ounces of alcoholic beverages, lending sums in excess
of $5, going the extra mile, exchanging ethnic or dirty jokes,
and sex." [received on the net, 30 Nov 94].
Six Degrees of CyberSpace: A website
promises that if you register, it will provide a means for
linking you with old longlost friends or people you want to be
friends with. Check out: www.sixdegrees.com, run by MacroView
Communications, NYC. Despite its name, the site is restricted to
finding out 3d-order connections. Moreover, you can't skip links.
If Bob wants to contact Ted, he'll have to go through Carol.
"This reaches those with large numbers of acquaintances as
they become the hub of a network of relationships. It also keeps
personal information private: those who already know you can
contact you directly." The website (and similar ones) are
free: founders want to make money by selling the demographic
information you need to impart if long-lost ties are going to
find you. [Economist, 3 May 97: 59].
And if that doesn't work, Looking4U Web lets you post
the name of the person you're looking for, along with the year
and location in which you last saw them, your name and a short
message. Should any long-lost friend come across the site,
they'll find your posting if they enter their name and check for
messages. It's: www.looking4u.com.
For a more laid-back approach, "Old Friends Information
Services," does the looking for you. "Childless
friends, high-school chums, army buddies, your first sweetheart:
Let us put you back in touch." says their ad in the Atlantic
Monthly (11/95: 26). $70 starts the search; $50 more when
the person is found. Contact 800-841-7938.
Reportedly, fashion folks play "Six Degrees of Gavin
Macon," a designer who apprenticed with lots of 7th Avenue
stars before making it big in Paris. "The rules hold that
all links be made through designers. For example, Donatella
Versace works with her brother Gianni, who once designed for
Complice, as did Claude Montana, who worked for Lanvin, which has
hired Ocimar Versolato, for whom Gavin Macon answered the
phone... Hubert de Givency once hired Gavin Macon to sharpen his
pencils." There's a web page, of course. [NY Times
Magazine, sometime in 1997].
Oh yes, there's the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' web/net
game in which folks supposedly trace the interconnections of all
those who've been in movies with KB, or have been in movies with
those who've been in movies with KB, etc. Rumor has it that this
was started by KB's publicists, for who else would want it known
they're that close to this ultra-boring actor? An Erdös number
is one thing [mine is two; thank you Ove!], but a KB number
should stay in the closet.
What bothers me about most of these small world accounts is
that they don't give Stan Milgram credit, referring back either
to John Guare's play/movie, "Six Degrees of Separation"
or to a pop article someone once read somewhere that summarizes
Milgram. But I can't wait to hear about "Six Degrees of Lin
Freeman" or of Stan Milgram himself.
Harvard Links: The Harvard Alumni
Association has formed "The Professional Connection."
Any alumnus can use it to contact more than 10K fellow graduates
who have volunteered to share their time, experience, and
expertise with the Harvard community, thus providing "access
to a vastly expanded 'circle of friends.'" Contact
email@example.com for information. [Harvard
Graduate School Alumni Association Newsletter, Winter, 1997:
Chaining with Liz and Lauren: Carol
Farkas, a longtime volunteer at NYC's Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center [BW: Didn't her family own Alexander's?] sent a letter
6/96 to 24 couples in her Upper East Side network, asking each to
donate $10 and also send the letter on to 10 friends. The letter
has since raised more than $251K, and has "spread like a
computer virus." Elizabeth Taylor got it & passed it on,
as did Mike Nichols, Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall, Katie Couric
& the designer Issac Mizrahi. [BW: For a guide to these
names, read People magazine.] Liz sent her letter to
Roddy McDowell, Carrie Fischer & the photographer Firooz
Zahedi, who sent it to Gregory Peck, who sent to Lauren Bacall,
who sent it to Cynthia O'Neal > Peter Wooster (interior
designer) > Jane-Howard Hammerstein (screenwriter) > author
Betty Rollins > writer Delia Ephron > producer Susan
Thomases, a FOB and Hilary. Spoilsport Barbara Walters did not
send it. "I do not like chain letters, period. There's
always the feeling that if I throw this away, my life is going to
end." [Elisabeth Bumiller, "Pushing the Envelope of
Fund-Raising." NY Times, 3 April 97].
Finding Those on the Lam: If you
don't want to be found, beware the Detective Information Service
who use cyberspace and telephone to check investment promoters,
locate missing heirs, drum up deadbeats, and find old flames that
want to burn alone. All for $225. Contact MPC Telecom in
Annandale VA. It's run by Frank Dillion, a retired general who
was director of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
(And here I thought that only the KGB was privatizing.) [Leslie
Eaton, "Gumshoes of Cyberspace Out to Save Investors
Pain." NY Times, 18 Aug 94: C1].
"He was an old man who sat alone at the keyboard in the room overlooking the Gulfstream and he had gone 84 days now without saving a file. In the first 40 days the boy had been with him showing him the ways of DOS and the smooth, seamless features of WP6.0. But after 40 days the boy had left believing that the old man was tech-illiterate, which is the worst form of unlucky...."
"...I am old and it is hard to learn the new ways."
"Chill, viejo. It just takes a little practice."
" Perhaps," the old man had told the boy. "You are lucky. To you, reveal Codes and Table Edit are like old friends with whom you share a glass of crystal springwater. Macros and decimal tabs are as comfortable for you as an old dog asleep in the sun...."
"....There! The forever taunting Courier 12 point had disappeared, and in its place was C:\WPDOCS\CALAMARI. The letter was saved, and the old man felt salvation.
"There are those who catch the blue marlin or fly through
cyberspace and the Internet. There are those who brag and sing of
their skills at advanced macros and merges. But the old man was
happy. He could hold his head up high as he walked through the
dusty bookstores and gleaming computer showrooms of the mall. He
knew, even if no else did, that he had persevered. He had fought
with the File Manager and he had won. It was good."
[excerpts from the start, middle and end of Dennis Kessinger,
"The Old Man and the C Drive," WordPerfect: The
Magazine, 2/95: 70]
JAI Press (Greenwich, CT) is republishing for summer, 1997, Barry
Wellman and S.D. Berkowitz, Social Structures: A Network
Approach. It's largely the same book that Cambridge
University Press published, except that I've written a short new
updating preface (essentially an opinionated guide to the past
decade's developments) and an edited version of Mark
Granovetter's classic "embeddedness" article has been
substituted for John Delaney's article.
And just off the virtual presses: Laura Garton, Caroline
Haythornthwaite and Barry Wellman, "Studying Online Social
Networks" is the leading article in the web-based (but
refereed) Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 3,
1 (June, 1997). Instead of writing us for reprints; look
in the ether at http://www.usc.edu/dept/annenberg/vol3/issue1/
A Guide to Thesis Advice: The
following was allegedly written by a U Toronto doctoral student
(not mine, of course). [Source: Toronto Globe and Mail Report
on Business Magazine, 11/94].
To Give Your Thesis That Well-Worn Look: Schmutz
Clogged is the name of a new typeface from the Image Club,
guaranteed to make your laser-printed document look like it came
from the old Underwood Upright that I typed my high school term
papers on. Contact http://www.imageclub.com/store.
Documenting Your Fame: I know that I only check myself in the SSCI to find out who else is citing me, I only count the number of citations once per year (at merit raise time), and I cite myself only when appropriate (which is a lot of course). Others may not be as discreet. So Richard Wright (U Scranton) has devised a formula to quantify academic clout which discounts self-citations: C2=C1+C1/P1P2 where C2 is the adjusted citation count, C2 is the total number of publications not authored by the scholar, P1written by a scholar that cite his/her work, and P2 is the total number of publications written by a scholar that contains self-citations. [Lingua Franca, 4/97: 9-10].
File for Future Reference: An ad in
the scholarly gossip magazine, Lingua Franca (4/97: 13):
"Student Disciplinary Actions; Tenure Disputes. Law offices
of Jeffrey Duban, NY, 212-583-1600. Litigation Practice including
Faculty & Student Disciplinary Actions and Dismissals;
Promotion & Tenure Disputes; Academic Contracts. A former
professor, Duban received his Ph.D. in Classical Philology from
Johns Hopkins in 1975."
Congratulations: A note in its
typographical entirety that I recently received from Andrew
Abbott (Soc, U Chicago):
|"Well then, best wishes.
Felicitations. Congratulations. I am very pleased to hear
about your ______, which has already seized the
imagination of an entire generation of _____. This
classic work, noted especially for its _____, ______ and
______ has already figured prominently in the _____ of
_____. Again, my best wishes upon this important