Table of contents(11 chapters)
Sociologists have not neglected the study of relationships, but there remains no central definition of what a relationship is. This study offers a definition of relationships that supports a conceptual tool and visualization technique for analyzing relational processes that are otherwise difficult to model using standard ethnographic methods and social network analysis techniques. Grounded in the work of social psychologists and relational sociologists, the premise of this proposition is that relationships are both remembered and imagined. I maintain that relationships are molded by a flow of changing circumstances and dynamic cognitive processes, a characteristic that I refer to as disjointed fluidity. With data from my ethnographic study of doctoral student mentorship, I use this perspective to detail the mechanisms by which relationships are created, maintained, and dissolved. I go on to introduce a new computational ethnographic technique that visualizes relationship properties and characteristics of relational processes using cognitive–temporal depictions called pixels and flows. This book contributes to the efforts in relational sociology to build a universal conceptualization of relationships. It differs from existing literature in its focus on the elements of relationships and their function in social construction.
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