The Changeability of Social Interaction: Formation and Evolution of Social Networks

Jing Shen


As structuralists assert, structural constraints define the probabilities of social interactions. I argue, however, that structural constraints are not static. Using Carley’s (1991) social interaction model as a starting point, I discuss three modified scenarios to illustrate two points: 1) shared facts can either increase or decrease the probability of a desirable interaction, and 2) at the same time, social actors’ active differentiation, selection, and creation of shared facts change the interaction patterns and further reconstruct the social structure. I supplement Carley’s dynamic network model by taking into account the role of social actors in the formation of social interactions; the results highlight the need to study social networks from the structural level and individual level simultaneously.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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