9.S: Ego Networks (Summary)
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In this chapter we've taken another look at the notion of embedding; this time, our focus has been on the individual actor, rather than the network as a whole.
The fundamental idea here is that the ways in which individuals are attached to macro-structure is often by way of their local connections. It is the local connections that most directly constrain actors, and provide them with access to opportunities. Examining the ego-networks of individuals can provide insight into why one individual's perceptions, identity, and behavior differ from another's. Looking at the demography of ego networks in a whole population can tell us a good bit about its differentiation and cohesion - from a micro point of view.
In the next several chapters we will examine additional concepts and algorithms that have been developed in social network analysis to describe important dimensions of the ways in which individuals and structures interact. We'll start with one of the most important, but also most troublesome, concepts: power.