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Duality Beyond Dyads: Multiplex Patterning of Social Ties and Cultural Meanings

Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks

ISBN: 978-1-78714-434-7, eISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

Publication date: 26 September 2017


The social and cultural duality perspective suggests dual ordering of interpersonal ties and cultural similarities. Studies to date primarily focus on cultural similarities in interpersonal dyads driven by principles such as homophily and contagion. We aim to extend these principles for sociocultural networks and investigate potentially competing micro-principles that generate these networks, taking into account not only direct dyadic overlap between interpersonal ties and cultural structures, but also the indirect interplay between the social and the cultural.

The empirical analysis utilizes social and semantic network data gathered through ethnographic studies of five creative organizations around Europe. We apply exponential random graph models (ERGMs) for multiplex networks to model the simultaneous operation of several generative principles of sociocultural structuring yielding multiplex dyads and triads that combine interpersonal ties with meaning sharing links.

The results suggest that in addition to the direct overlap of shared meanings and interpersonal ties, sociocultural structure formation is also affected by extra-dyadic links. Namely, expressive interpersonal ties with common third persons condition meaning sharing between individuals, while meaning sharing with common alters leads to interpersonal collaborations. Beyond dyads, the dual ordering of the social and the cultural thus operates as asymmetrical with regard to different types of interpersonal ties.

The paper shows that in addition to direct dyadic overlap, network ties with third parties play an important role for the co-constitution of the social and the cultural. Moreover, we highlight that the concept of network multiplexity can be extended beyond social networks to investigate competing micro-principles guiding the interplay of social and cultural structures.




The paper has benefited from the support of: Russian foundation for humanities (15-03-00722 “Coevolution of knowledge and communication networks: structural dynamics of creative collectives in European cultural capitals,” 2015-ongoing), the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (the Grant of the President of the Russian Federation for the State Support of Young Russian ScholarsМК “Creative Communities in City Space: Communication Mechanisms of Knowledge Generation (by the Example of Contemporary Art),” 2014-ongoing), and the Centre for German and European Studies – Bielefeld University and St. Petersburg State University supported by the DAAD with funds from the German Foreign Office.

The authors express their gratitude to those who helped in data collection and processing: Aleksandra Nenko, Anisya Khokhlova, Irina Kretser, Dafne Muntanyola, Maria Drozdova, Silvie Jacobi, Chiara Pierobon, Aleksandr Pivovarov, Liubov Chernysheva, Alisa Alieva, Tatyana Adamenko, Alexey Evstifeev, Carolin Brune, and Artem Antoniuk. We are indebted to Wouter de Nooy for his ideas on the methodology of our research. We are also grateful for the comments received on this paper from the editors of this volume, two anonymous reviewers, and Ronald Breiger as well as other participants of the 3rd International Conference Networks in the Global World in 2016.


Basov, N. and Brennecke, J. (2017), "Duality Beyond Dyads: Multiplex Patterning of Social Ties and Cultural Meanings", Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 53), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 87-112.



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