Networks in the Global World 2014

Bridging Theory and Method: American, European, and Russian Studies

June 27-29, St Petersburg, Russia

The primary goal of the NetGloW conference series is to bring together networks researchers from around the globe, to unite the efforts of various scientific disciplines in response to the key challenges faced by network studies today, and to exchange local research results – thus allowing an analysis of global processes. It is also crucial for us to support junior researchers’ orientation in the complex landscape of network science, and to encourage applications of network analysis by practitioners.

The first NetGloW conference, subtitled “Structural Transformations in Europe, the US and Russia”, took place in St. Petersburg on June 22-24 2012 and brought together more than 150 scientists, political practitioners and business representatives from all around the world. The conference bore a pronounced interdisciplinary character: involving sociologists, philosophers, culture researchers, management specialists and economists. All were responding to the challenges created by structural transformations in the US, Russia and Europe, transformations which are themselves catalyzed by the growing importance of networks in the present day world. The discussions were focused on knowledge and innovation networks, academic networks, networks in policy and culture, as well as networks in virtual space.

The idea of the 2014 event is to discuss the key current issues and problems of linking theoretical and methodological developments in network analysis.

Moving from theory to methods and applications one can consider networks as a useful metaphor, providing plenty of opportunities for theoretical speculations, many of which are very difficult to operationalize. Graph theory allows analysts to build various theoretical models, yet those models are not always suitable for the theoretical design. Reliable and relevant network data are either difficult to obtain or – in the case of Big Data – hard to screen and handle. Moving reversely from methods to theorizing, it can be seen that the complex mathematical core of network analysis methods and their applications are difficult to use for theory developers who often have no mathematical background. Network data collected in numerous fields of application for network research, as well as usage of the existing network analysis techniques and network metrics calculation, do not always provide clear evidence for grounded theoretical generalizations.

This is particularly the case for the most intensely developing areas of network research, like communication and knowledge networks, sociosemantic networks, online networks, culture and identity networks, science and technology networks, organizational and innovation networks, economic networks, policy networks, civil society and social movement networks. These rapidly growing thematic fields of network studies experience a gap between the theoretical ideas they generate, and the sophisticated analytical methodology that is being produced by network analysts. Thus, there is a need for thorough reflection on the process of relating theories to methods. Which methods in network analysis should be used to test certain theoretical ideas; how should specific metrics be interpreted with regard to theoretical constructs developed in the field; which data should be considered when dealing with particular theoretical concepts? – These are the questions NetGloW’14 conference sets out to answer. Deriving from this work, it is crucial to support students and practitioners in selecting proper tools and techniques when they apply network analysis in their areas of studies and practice.

Invited speakers:

Jana Diesner, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Loet Leydesdorff, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tom Valente, University of Southern California, USA

Dimitris Christopoulos, MODUL University Vienna, Austria

Mario Diani, University of Trento, Italy

Peter Groenewegen, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

Wouter de Nooy, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Johanne Saint-Charles, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada

Marc Smith, Connected Action Consulting Group, USA

Program Committee:

Jana Diesner, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, USA

Loet Leydesdorff, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tom Valente, University of Southern California, USA

Mario Diani, University of Trento, Italy

Wouter de Nooy, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Johanne Saint-Charles, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada

Marc Smith, Connected Action Consulting Group, USA

Local Organizing Committee:

Nikita Basov, St. Petersburg State University, Russia

Vera Minina, St. Petersburg State University, Russia

Alexandra Nenko, NRU Higher School of Economics – St Petersburg, Russia

Tetiana Kostiuchenko, National-University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy", Ukraine

Elena Belokurova, European University at St. Petersburg, Russia

Anisya Khokhlova, St. Petersburg State University, Russia

Conference partners:

Centre for German and European Studies, Russia – Germany

St. Petersburg State University, Russia

Bielefeld University, Germany

Inter-University Center for Science and Education Programmes in Social Communication, Russia

Conference information partners:

Junior Sociologists Network of the International Sociological Association

The structure of the conference includes a full workshops day and a seminar for practitioners on June 27th and two single-track days of presentations on June 28th & 29th. The keynote speeches and invited talks will be distributed along the two conference days.

The conference will include the seminar "Network analysis: How can it be used by globally operating practitioners?" We expect participation from representatives of: global civil society actors, NGOs, multinational and transnational business organizations, internationally operating foundations, science and educational institutions and international policy makers. The Seminar will develop a dialogue between practitioners and researchers in order to exchange experiences and ideas on how network analysis can be used to empower management in the global world.

Abstracts (200 words) will be published as a part of conference programme. Full papers (2500 words) should be submitted prior to the event. These will be distributed among participants of the sessions to stimulate discussion. Selected full papers will be published in peer-reviewed journal(s), in cases where commitment is confirmed by the author(s) with regard to a particular journal (TBD).

Working language: English.

Fee: Participation in the conference is free of charge.

Additional support for PhD and MA students: The organizing committee will provide accommodation in St. Petersburg for MA and PhD students who submitted the best abstracts. Notifications will be sent on February 17th 2014.