SOC Departmental Seminars: What are Communities in Social Networks?

The Department of Sociology organised the seminar on "What are Communities in Social Networks?" on 27 January 2021 and invited Prof. Zach Neal as the speaker.


Situating his talk in American politics, Prof. Zach Neal introduced his ways of defining and measuring the meanings of community. In the talk, he explored four ways that communities are often defined: as a population, as a place, as a network cluster, and as a balanced network. He also evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Based on these four dimensions, he found that during the legislation passing process, there is a third community in relation to democrats/republicans in American politics (which is likely in the swing states) plays an influential role. He also examined racial, gender, and geographical differences of the members in the community which contain elected members of congress.


Prof. Zach Neal’s talk is well-received and some future research agendas were brainstormed between audiences regarding what background these third community members come from — are they career politicians, or do they come from the business world?