SOC Departmental Seminars: Contact Diaries: A Bottom-up Approach to Delineating Personal Networks

The Department of Sociology organised a seminar "Contact Diaries: A Bottom-up Approach to Delineating Personal Networks" on 11 March 2021 and invited Prof. Fu Yang Chih (Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan) as the speaker.


The boundaries and components of most personal networks change constantly. While conventional studies often explore personal networks from relationship- and acquaintanceship-based points of view, an alternative contact-based perspective could enrich our understanding of network structures and further capture network dynamics. In addition to relationship and acquaintance networks, studying contact networks is particularly revealing in the social media era as the emerging means of communication facilitates fleeting social interactions and breeds contingent social connections. Following such a contact perspective, a novel diary approach delineates personal networks over interactions (contacts) to distinguish the underlying nature of ties (edges) among actors (nodes).


In his talk,Professor Fu reviewed the rationale behind the contact perspective, introduced the design of contact diaries, explained how recent diary studies can help strengthen sociological inquiries, and highlighted how they contribute to the broader literature when using analogies and metaphors from other fields.