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Unblocking the pathway to effective use of blockmodels in social movement research

By Clare Saunders


Key studies of social movement networks use block modelling to uncover movement network structures. Whilst it is promising to see mathematical sociology techniques applied to social movement studies, there are grounds for engendering a closer connection between these two fields of study. The mathematical sociology literature recommends, for example, that analyzed networks should be complete and relatively dense, some degree of deduction should be applied to select the ‘best’ model, levels of equivalence and / or error scores should be specified, and reliable and appropriate algorithms and levels of equivalence should be carefully selected. Some dilemmas involved in block modelling analysis are demonstrated through block modelling analysis of inter-organizational networking in Friends of the Earth International (FoEI)

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