St. Petersburg, June 22-24 2012
It is a pleasure for organizational committee to report that 148 scientists, political practicioners and business representatives took part in conference sessions, panels and discussions. Participants from Russia, Urkaine, Germany, Poland, the US, France, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, China, Hungary, Belarus, Turkey, Serbia, South Africa, Iran, Pakistan and other countries made 78 oral presentations and 36 oral reports.
We hope that all the participants enjoyed plenary speeches by such leading network scientists as Martin Everett (University of Manchester, UK), David Knoke (University of Minnesota, US), Kathleen M. Carley (Carnegie Mellon University, US), and Joerg Sydow (Free University of Berlin, Germany).
The conference bore a pronounced interdisciplinary character bringing together sociologists, philosophers, culture researchers, management specialists and economists. The discussions were focused on knowledge and innovation networks, academic networks, networks in policy and culture, as well as networks in virtual space. Many key problems of contemporary network research were covered incluing consideration of various network definitions, analysis of different networks forms, comparison of network research methods.
In particular, the specific characteristics of network inter-firm interactions were discussed. Participants analyzed the genesis of these networks and their potential for development in Russia.
Practical problems of academic networks emergence in different counrties and discoursive contexts were considered. Papers researching the influence of political and cultural factors on academic networks were presented. Various methods to study networks in academic communities were suggested.
Participants presented research on knowledge creation processes in knowledge networks both at the level of knowledge society as a whole and at the level of knowledge networks functioning mechanisms, including emotional interaction. Particular technologies and devices allowing easier information search and exchange were described. Specific models of innovations generation in knowledge networks were analyzed as well.
New research on networks in virtual space was presented. Virtual networks were discussed as constituting elements of the network society. Problems of youth as a subject of virtual communication were raised. Participants also discussed the capacity of young people to change society through virtual networks.
Conference searched for the interconnections between network approach and other research traditions, particularly social epistemology and nonclassical paradigm. The question was posed, if networks are self-organizing systems.
Important discussion topics also included the influence of social networks on the existing values, blurring of traditional social institutions in the network society, new forms of social inequalities emerging in networks and through networks, network embeddedness in the context of social space evolution.
In line with the listed issues the conference covered policy transformation processes driven by the spread of network communication, transformation of public policy subjects with the emergence of new virtual network actors, and new opportunities for political action and political consolidation.
At the concluding plenary session participants particularly expressed the need to organize a series of scientific conferences in different regions of the world designated by the general title Networks in the Global World. We will be happy to hear from you about the ideas and opportunities for future collaboration to make this idea come true.