Network Theory and Methods: Combining Structure, Content and Meanings?

Workshop on research advances in social and semantic networks
1 August ─ 1 September Amsterdam, the Netherlands



NetworkWorkshopAmsterdam2015-3  NetworkWorkshopAmsterdam2015-4     NetworkWorkshopAmsterdam2015-5







Keynotes: Prof. Steve Borgatti (Univ. Kentucky) and Prof. John Mohr (UC Santa Barbara)

 Call for papers

 This two-day workshop provides a forum to share cutting-edge research, toward advancing social and semantic network theories and methods, in particular by combining social structures, semantic co-word networks and meanings in/of networks.

In recent years, social network research on text-based information has expanded, and options to detect the dynamics of social relations have been explored theoretically and methodologically. Advancing analytical methods, and the increasing availability of large data flows and sets, have been mutually reinforcing in catalyzing these developments. At the same time, theories of social networks have developed an increasingly fine-tuned vocabulary toward refining type of relations, flows or events theories to the variety of data.

However, an important question has emerged, relating to combining structure, content and meanings in networks. For instance, how can content, events, and/or other flows between actors be measured more accurately? What do communication exchanges reveal about social structures between actors? In response to such questions, some interesting structural outcomes have been reported, and multi-mode network analysis appears fruitful toward conceptualizing mixed structure linkages across content and network relations. For example, the visibility of corporate partnerships (through alliances) and friendship relations (through social network sites) has stimulated a flurry of research on semantic and structural analyses. Nevertheless, direct measurement of, and theorizing on the social significance of meaning structures is not yet solidly connected to understanding of social relations that they engender. This workshop is convened in an effort to address this gap.


Steve Borgatti is Professor in Management at the University of Kentucky, Gatton College of Business and Economics. He can be considered one of the founding fathers of modern social network analysis, and has published over 100 articles on social network analysis, focusing on both theoretical and methodological approaches.

John Mohr is Professor of Sociology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Department of Sociology. He is an expert in the field of meanings in network theory and research, and has published widely on cultural turn in the social sciences, topic modelling and networks and meaning.


Abstract submission guidelines

Interested participants are invited to submit theoretical or methodological papers, contributing new perspectives on the questions how, when, and under what conditions relations, content and meaning structures can be connected through social and semantic network research; in what manner existing conceptualizations are suitable for analyses including a diversity of node types; or what approaches are suitable toward strengthening   understanding   of the connections between relations and meaning. Participants are invited to submit a short paper (up to 10 pages / 4000 words), relating to one or more of the core themes:

 1) Big data and connected actors: how can social network processes be analyzed in view of increasing access to social network sites and other sources of textual ‘big data’, toward better reflecting the structure and content of communication between connected actors?

 2) Actor-event network links: how can the combination of social and semantic data help to interpret the flow of events between actors in relation to locations in which relations are formed and expressed?

 3) Meanings and structures in networks: which theories, methodologies and techniques can be used to jointly consider social structures and meanings in research on communication networks?

 The short papers may include participants’ original research or reflections on how they deal with these themes in their own research. Please, also indicate whether you wish to take part of the theoretical or the methodological stream in the workshop.

Papers are due 15 April 2015. Please email submissions to: Acceptance notifications will be sent in May, 2015.

We aim for contributions and a framework that will lead to a special issue of a leading journal (details to be announced during the workshop).


Further details

Workshop dates:           Monday August 31 and Tuesday September 1, 2015

Venue:                             VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Organizing parties:       The workshop is organized by the VU University Amsterdam, Department of Organization Sciences and The Network Institute (Prof. Peter Groenewegen, Dr. Iina Hellsten and Dr. Julie Ferguson), in collaboration with Center for German and European Studies, St Petersburg State University – Bielefeld University (Dr. Nikita Basov)

Contact details:             Dr. Iina Hellsten and Dr. Julie Ferguson, e-mail:

Registration fee:           €100 (includes all workshop catering and 1 evening meal)

The Center for German and European Studies (St Petersburg State University – University of Bielefeld) is kindly providing workshop grants covering travel, accommodation and workshop fees of selected Russia- based authors. Please indicate your interest and eligibility for consideration for such a grant upon submission of your proposal.