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Small World Networks

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Applications to sociology

The advantages to small world networking for social movement groups are their resistance to change due to the filtering apparatus of using highly connected nodes, and its better effectiveness in relaying information while keeping the number of links required to connect a network to a minimum.

The small world network model is directly applicable to affinity group theory represented in sociological arguments by William Finnegan. Affinity groups are social movement groups that are small and semi-independent pledged to a larger goal or function. Though largely unaffiliated at the node level, a few members of high connectivity function as connectivity nodes, linking the different groups through networking. This small world model has proven an extremely effective protest organization tactic against police action. Clay Shirky argues that the larger the social network created through small world networking, the more valuable the nodes of high connectivity within the network. The same can be said for the affinity group model, where the few people within each group connected to outside groups allowed for a large amount of mobilization and adaptation.




© Tom de Havas 2011. The information under this section is my own work it may be reproduced without modification but must include this notice.







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