Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A situational understanding of friendship networks
Author: Block, Per
ISNI:       0000 0004 5211 3357
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
The structure of social networks, and people's position within these networks, are important predictors of many individual and group-level outcomes. One type of social networks that is regularly studied are the mutually interdependent relations of friends. This thesis focusses on friendship networks between adolescents in the context of schools. Arguably the most important and consistently found regularities in adolescent friendship networks are i) the tendency of friendships to be mutual, called reciprocity; ii) their tendency to cluster in groups, known as transitivity; and iii) the tendency of friendships to be present between those that are similar to one another, called homophily. Various social theories originating in different disciplines have theoretically proposed and empirically found micro-mechanisms that explain the regular occurrence of these substructures in friendship networks. This thesis introduces a framework of how the relation between these different networks tendencies can be understood. I propose that each of the three network evolution mechanisms can be connected to a type of social situation in which friends interact to form and maintain their friendships. Social situations that are dyadic and only involve two persons are connected to reciprocal friendships. Group-based social situations, on the other hand, are related to transitivity and homophily, where the groups are either defined socially or through common characteristics. Starting from this proposition, I suggest that when two adolescents share one forum for interaction with one another, i.e. they regularly meet within one of the social situations, meeting in additional other situations does not increase the likelihood of a friendship tie existing as much as could be expected from the sum of the effect of meeting in either situation. Consequently, I expect a negative interaction between the different network mechanisms. After a series of empirical analyses that support the outlined reasoning, I use the developed perspective to investigate how the micro-mechanisms contribute differentially to the creation of newly formed friendships and to the maintenance of already existing friendships. Finally, I show how a situational understanding of friendship can be used to differentiate which friendships are most important for social influence and for peer pressure.
Supervisor: Snijders, Tom A. B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology ; social network analysis ; friendship networks ; stochastic actor-oriented models