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Anthropology after GluckmanThe Manchester School, colonial and postcolonial transformations$
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Richard Werbner

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526138002

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526138019

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 31 July 2021

Relational thought, networks, circles

Relational thought, networks, circles

(p.132) 5 Relational thought, networks, circles
Anthropology after Gluckman

Richard Werbner

Manchester University Press

Chapter 5 examines the turn by A. L. Epstein, Clyde Mitchell and others to relational thought, at first primarily about ties of friendship or kinship and about the structures of these ties. Where an earlier generation of anthropologists in the 1930s had turned to science for physicists’ ideas of process theory, in the 1950s, led by John Barnes and later Mitchell, anthropologists fostered an approach to science through mathematics. After Barnes, Mitchell reformulated mathematical concepts in sociological language and brought graph theory and algebraic ideas and methods to bear on the data of interpersonal relations. Chapter 5 shows, also, how Mitchell responded when the tide of social network analysis turned in a fresh direction, sometimes called ‘The Harvard Renaissance’, and towards ‘block modelling’, in part stimulated by very much faster computers and exponentially more powerful computer programs. Of all the interdisciplinary contributions by members of the Manchester School, the ones that are best known, especially in sociology, are their pioneering parts in the development of this huge growth industry: the field of social network analysis.

Keywords:   relationality, social network analysis, mathematical sociology, urban encounters, social science methodology, block modelling, graph theory, gossip in networks, sociometric research, travelling theory

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