Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jürgen R. Grote
Networks are about relations. Accordingly, rather than the properties and attributes held by actors, it is the ties connecting any two, three, or more individuals, organizations, or institutions that form the basic unit of analysis. In the most general terms, the emergence of the network paradigm during recent decades can be attributed to the following: transformations in the reality of states, markets, and societies as perceived by competent observers (e.g., the emergence of organized society; the events of functional differentiation, decentralization, and fragmentation; and the growing interdependence and complexity of virtually all societal spheres); changes in conceptual and theoretical developments in the respective disciplines dealing with these systems of order (e.g., increasing attention drawn toward informal arrangements in politics, new modes of governance and public–private alliances, and a shift from hierarchical control toward horizontal coordination); and the development of a methodological apparatus for relational analysis as a result of a ...