Trading routes, bypasses, and risky intersections

Gernot Grabher, TechCrunch UK, May 11, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I found a lot of good stuff in this paper, which I found while looking for a combination of Harrison White and Actor Network Theory. Part I.1 has a nice summary of the history of the distinction between groups and networks. Part II.1 talks about network governance and II.5 talks about informal networks. Part II.1 takes what I consider to be the key network 'turn', from network content to network structure. "Explanations stem from analyses of patterns of relations." III.3 talks about the autonomy of entities in the network, and III.4 talks about strong and weak ties. III.5 ties this explicitly to the 'small worlds' theory. In section IV we see the "promising turns" and a discussion of rhizomes, ANT and related issues. Finally, in section IV.3 Harrison White is presented as a softer alternative to ANT: "following White’s path allows us to unlock the actors from the rigid grid of homogenous ties and to place them in the fluid context of an entire spectrum of network domains."

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