Multimode and Multilevel Networks in the Study of Science. Some Theoretical Considerations
University of Manchester, UK
Following the exponential growth of scientific activities after the 2nd World War, science, its institutional organization and the everyday practices involved in producing it became an important field of enquiry for sociologists, historians and philosophers, and more recently for social physicists and computer scientists. Scholars have traditionally aligned along the two main frameworks of sociology of science on one hand, and of sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), science and technology studies (STS) and Actor Network theory (ANT) on the other hand. These two frameworks have grown increasingly apart, to the point of allegedly ontological and epistemological incommensurability. Despite the differences, both traditions have largely recognised the importance of social networks for structuring scientific communities. Social networks were at the core of classic sociometric studies, but they were also acknowledged by Kuhn (1970) as efficient techniques for mapping scientific communities and used by STS and subsequently ANT researchers as visualisations to represent the structure of scientific specialties.
In this talk I review those attempts to discuss the theoretical and methodological importance of social networks for the study of scientific communities, highlight the key communal elements that emerge from these frameworks, and read them within the realm of relational sociology. I argue that despite the ontological and epistemological differences, these two traditions can be bonded by a joint interest in defining the networked nature of scientific communities, in identifying their network structures and organizations, and in accounting for network hierarchies and dynamics. By taking seriously relational theory we can use the powerful tools of social network analysis in its recent multilevel and multimode developments to analyse and explain the co-construction of cultural/cognitive and social factors. Most importantly, by merging the two traditions, I hope to shed a more informed light to the systematic and often elusive inequalities that still affect the production of science.
A New Opportunity for Network Science: Digital Humanities
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Despite the availability of huge amounts of digital records, there exists a whole bunch of human activities related with arts and humanities whose records are not digitally available, as information is stored in books, correspondence, libraries, and archives. The systematic use of digital resources in the humanities, as well as of quantitative analysis methods, has led to the birth of the so-called "digital humanities" field. Network science constitute a powerful asset to address questions of interest for scholars working in humanities and non. Using case studies related with translation flows, gender inequalities, and geopolitics of international cooperation, in this talk I will discuss the opportunities (and caveats) stemming from the application of network science to address questions arising from these topics.
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Behavioral Aspects in the Individual and Spatial Transmission of Mpox
Inserm & Sorbonne Universite, France
Starting May 2022, individuals with mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) were reported by several countries worldwide, outside the regions of West and Central Africa where the disease is endemic and sustained by circulation in animal reservoirs. The mpox global outbreak led to a fast increase in new infected individuals through close contact transmission primarily among men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM). Focusing on the mpox outbreak in France and using multiple data streams – including outbreak case data, detailed survey data from these cases, vaccination data, sexual behavioral data from surveys in the MSM community undertaken before and after the major mpox outbreak– we constructed different networks to integrate the behavioral aspects relevant to individual and spatial transmission. We showed that attendance to MSM commercial venues drove the rapid initial spread, followed by a rapid decline largely explained by a reduction of sexual activity induced by the perceived risk of infection, and before vaccination could reach mitigating effects at the population level. The study findings highlight the need for early awareness campaigns involving the affected community.
The Dynamics of Optimally Structured Egocentric Networks
University of Oxford, UK
The human social world has a very distinct layered structure, determined largely by the frequency with which we contact our friends. The size and dynamics of these networks are remarkably consistent, occurring not only in human networks but also monkey and ape networks, as well as natural human communities. I will show that the these layers are criticalities that optimise information flow through networks.
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Applying Complexity to Achieve Sustainable Urban Mobility
Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Austria
Urban mobility is at a crossroads, grappling with the pervasive impact of cars on cities worldwide. The rise in motorization rates brings about a multitude of challenges, from road safety concerns to environmental degradation and sedentary lifestyles. Despite these pressing issues, budget often prioritize car-centric infrastructure, perpetuating a cycle of dependence. Moreover, the lack of reliable data complicates efforts to analyze and compare mobility across cities, hindering the formulation of effective solutions. In this talk, I will delve into how leveraging data and understanding complex systems can help us understand the way towards achieving sustainable mobility in cities.