Daily Archives: May 19, 2008

Summer Reading List

OK, I leave for five weeks in a week. Its mostly vacation, but I am looking forward to spending some time reading some of the dense social theory or social science books that I rely on, but have never finished or even read (ouch, hurts to admit that in print). I’ll probably get drummed out of the bidness (its like our omerta) for saying this, but when you read lots of journal article,s you start to know what are the foundational texts and how they are used. Its like seeing the shape of a plane by its shadow. Foucault, is, I think a classic in this regard. Everyone cites, few have actually read (beyond strategic skimming). And Weber. (Although I did take a grad school seminar where we did nothing but read Economy and Society. That’s a story for another time).

Anyway, for the sake of _actually_ reading some of these from my ever-expanding list of books, I am limiting myself to two. So, this is the fun part, like choosing courses from a stellar menu. Which two?

Possible summer reading list (In Progress):

  • Identity and Control by Harrison White
  • Sociology of Philosophy by Randall Collins
  • Constitution of Society by Anthony Giddens
  • Volumes 2 and 3 of The Information Age by Manuel Castells
  • The Hacker Ethic By Pekka Hinamen
  • something by Bourdieu…
  • Brokerage and Closure by Ron Burt
  • Something by Charles Tilly, Big structures, large processes, huge comparisons or Identities, Boundaries and Social Ties
  • Code v 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig
  • The Hacker Ethic by Pekka Himanen (for  teaching really).

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Filed under Books, Castells, New Projects, organization studies, organization theory, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Social Networks, social theory

Chain letters explained…

nsf.gov – News – How Did That Chain Letter Get To My Inbox? – US National Science Foundation NSF
Everyone who has an e-mail account has probably received a forwarded chain letter promising good luck if the message is forwarded on to others–or terrible misfortune if it isnt. The sheer volume of forwarded messages such as chain letters, online petitions, jokes and other materials leads to a simple question–how do these messages reach so many people so quickly?

The NSF research by Jon Kleinberg (From Six Degrees book) and David Liben-Nowell (from Carleton!) has an interesting answer.  It seems that online petitions follow quite circuitous routes and do not spread virally (each recipient spawning new ones) at all.  Key nodes are critical making the whole process quite resistant to prediction and intervention.  Bad news for people selling you the Dummies Guide to Viral Marketing.

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Filed under activism, Marketing, Network Dynamics, Networks, Research