Can Graphs Advance the Comparative Analyses of Diffuse Networks?

Herman Schwendinger, University of South Florida
Julia R. Schwendinger, University of South Florida

ABSTRACT
Since the great majority of delinquent groups (called 'gangs' or not) belong to diffuse rather than formally organized networks, American, English, Norwegian, French, etc., studies tacitly rely on social-type metaphors to differentiate subcultural entities. Nevertheless, because some of these metaphors identify subcultural networks by their overriding ethnic or other demographic characteristics (e.g., Bloods, Paks, Somalis) rather than styles of life (e.g., homeboys, druggies, hot rodders, skinheads), they cannot by themselves help classify significant variations in network relations. The Schwendingers' previous writings have proposed a 'progessive research progran' that employs sociometric graphs of large subcultural networks (e.g., see, for example, http://home.earthlink.net/~schwendh/). This paper focuses on the use of their research technology to advance the comparative study of micro and macrosociological relationships. This technology creates iconic models that can be employed in multilevel subcultural studies regardless of the country in which the study is made.

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Updated 05/20/2006