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Searching for intermediaries An iterative structural deconstruction of personal networks

Abstract : Sociologists attempt to compare personal networks in order to identify explanatory factors that mayindicatedifferences betweenthem, aboveand beyond individual life histories. However, the usual indicators distinguish a single structural characteristic. In this article we attempt to find a more satisfactory way of explaining the structure of personal networks. We propose an iterative deconstruction of personal networks focused on betweenness centrality which is recalculated by an algorithm at each stage of the process. When applied to a sample of 287 cases gathered by direct interviews, it allows us to establish the betweennesses that are otherwise concealed by higher values, to determine the intermediaries at each stage, to record their exit rank, to characterise all the alters by several criteria and, finally, to take into consideration the number of stages required to deconstruct the network, thereby creating a new indicator of network stratification. These results are coherent with what we know about the evolutions of personal network structures and social roles along the life cycle. In a way, they reflect the imprints that time and life events have left on Ego’s network.
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Contributor : Claire Bidart <>
Submitted on : Friday, October 16, 2020 - 12:34:28 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 3:48:00 AM

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Claire Bidart, Alain Degenne, Michel Grossetti. Searching for intermediaries An iterative structural deconstruction of personal networks. EPJ Web of Conferences, EDP Sciences, 2020, 244, pp.01004. ⟨10.1051/epjconf/202024401004⟩. ⟨hal-02969069⟩



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