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Current Projects

I have a variety of large and small projects in the works. Among the larger projects are the following active and proposed studies. They are equally important to me but had to be listed in some arbitrary order.

The Slovenian Scientific System

Working with colleagues in Slovenia (primarily Luka Kronegger, Anuška Ferligoj thus far) on coupled data bases of complete co-authorship networks in four scientific fields (biotechnology, mathematics, physics and sociology) and author biographical data permits an examination of the evolution of scientific knowledge in Slovenia. In particular, this involves studying the impact of independence (in 1991) and joining the EU on the development of national scientific fields. Exciting stuff.

The World System of Football

This is an unabashed way of combining my interest in social networks, mathematical modeling, and macro modeling with football (known also as soccer). Its core is the movement of professional football players over the globe to pursue their chosen profession and leads to a variety of sub-projects. One is simply mapping the between country and between clubs networks created through the movement of players. Another is to test aspects of world system theory and parts of the globalization thesis using these data. A third project is to build an event history model of the careers of football players. Yet another is the study the evolution of inequality over time and over the course of a season in the English football league system. I am interested also in the evolution of players in terms of physical characteristics and positions played. Also of interest is a population ecology model of the formation of football clubs in England (a project with Spencer Foster). I could go on but you get the idea – and I get to watch games of football, read about football all over the world and still call it research.

Generalized Blockmodeling

This is a project with Vladimir Batagelj and Anuška Ferligoj (both at the University of Ljubljana) on generalizing and extending blockmodeling of social and other networks. We continue to develop new block types and new types of blockmodels while searching for new examples and different network phenomena to study. Our current emphasis is centered on three-mode network data (including networks over time). Our project started in 1988 with the suggestion that it would be fruitful to couple cluster analytic ideas and social network analysis. We have never looked back. Our 2005 book Generalized Blockmodeling pulled together our ideas at the time into a general and consistent statement of our approach to blockmodeling. It forms the foundation for our current projects. Working with Garry Robins, Pip Pattison and Penn Wang (at the University of Melbourne) on a project designed to integrate exponential rand graph models and blockmodels in the form of covariates adds to the fun of thinking about the evolution of network structures.

Police Academy Training

Norm Conti (Duquesne University) and I have data on recruits in police academies in two large American cities regarding their socialization as police officers and the social networks that are generated during the operation of the academy. Our interest centers on the evolution of these networks over time and the role they may play in the training process. We are looking also at the generation of trust (or not) among recruits, the role that race may play in the dynamics of training and the changes in values and attitudes regarding law enforcement.

Studies in Balance Theory

This is another multi-faceted project dealing with various aspects of structural balance theory with the goal of extending the theory and applying it in different empirical contexts. As such, these projects will build upon the balance papers included in the papers section of this website. One project is to incorporate more fully the idea of signed unit formation relations into the dynamics of signed social relations among people. Another is to extend the partitioning approach to two-mode signed network structures. A third project (in collaboration with Paulette Lloyd, Indiana University) attempts to apply balance theoretic ideas to the study of international relations as reflected in the voting records of the UN General Assembly.

Battling Environmental and Interorganizational Networks

This study (in collaboration with Jared Coopersmith) looks at the mobilization of two sets of organizations concerning the environment. One is the Turning Point Project as an example of an environmentalist social movement and the other is the Wise Use movement that was formed to oppose environmentalist movements. We have a network of environmentalist organizations, a network of anti-environmentalist organizations and their combined network (with almost 3,000 organizations). We explore the structure of these networks as the two sets of organizations fight for dominance regarding the politics of the environment in the United States.