The study of social networks, social structure and network processes has been my primary research focus throughout my long career. In doing this, I am convinced of the need for a tight connection between data, models and having substantive understandings of the world we inhabit. While I have been involved in the creation of multiple data analytic methods, especially for analyzing network data, I do not believe in having ‘theory’ and ‘methods’ as separate areas. Nor do I believe in the rigid separation of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The types of networks I have considered include social relations in police academies, signed networks among people and nations, scientific citation networks and collaboration networks among scientists, relations within and between organizations, patent citation networks, movement of soccer players between countries and clubs, international networks, and the US Supreme Court. Currently, my work on signed networks, police academies and the Supreme Court have taken priority. My work on this court permits an examination of the interrelation of the court and the society within which it works. A primary focus is the implications this has for social justice.
It involves a series of accidents. Two involve school teachers, one in Australia and one in England. The one ‘down under’ said allegedly stupid things like “Austria was Hungary, so it got some Turkey and dipped it in Greece.” His obvious intent was send people to look at maps and see so much more than what is usually considered in classrooms. I followed this with great passion and was hooked. In England, I was dismissed as mathematically inept with zero potential and uneducable by the mathematics ‘teacher’. He was replaced by a whacked-out dude who turned mathematics into a magical kingdom. It changed my life. Other accidents took the form of meeting people who became friends and collaborators. While I have collaborated with many, I need to acknowledge particular long-term collaborators in the time order of my meeting them: Norman Hummon; Anuška Ferligoj and Vladimir Batagelj; Andrej Mrvar; and Norman Conti. I have wandered on the boundaries of many because I believe ideas need to flow between different research areas to make my work better. When asked what I do, I reply simply “I think, compute and scribble.” Chewing on interesting problems, especially difficult ones, is pure fun. I know that I have learned more from my collaborators than they have from me.
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