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2011-03-21

freeman_1992_journal

CITATION: Freeman, Linton C. 1992. "The Sociological Concept of “Group”: An Empirical Test of Two Models." The American Journal of Sociology 98(1): 152-166.

AUTHOR_1: Linton C. Freeman
YEAR: 1992
TITLEThe Sociological Concept of “Group”: An Empirical Test of Two Models
SOURCE: Journal
SOURCE_TITLE: American Journal of Sociology

SUMMARY: Compares two models of small group structure proposed in the literature – one by Granovetter and the other by Winship. The Winship (1977) model is based upon a hierarchical structure, which has as its implication the prediction that intransitive triples don not exist in strongly-tied small groups. The Granovetter (1973) model, based upon his distinction between strong and weak ties, predicts instead that there will be no “G-intransitive” triples in strongly-tied small groups. A G-intransitive triple is one in which there are two strongly-tied pairs and one pair with no ties at all. Freeman presents a straightforward method for empirically identifying the cutoff-point between strong and weak ties in a Granovetter model, and demonstrates this process using seven well-known datasets with detailed information on long-term interaction. The results suggest that the Winship model is too inflexible and a poor fit to actual data, whereas the Granovetter model fits 4 out of the 7 datasets. A discussion follows of what substantive characteristics might lead a group to display patterns of interaction that conform to the Granovetter model.

REVIEWED BY: jrh
LABELS_FULL: 1992, jrh, reviewed, journal, strong ties, weak ties, social structure, transitivity, small groups, Old South data, Lunch data, Beach data, Karate Club data, Frat data, Tech data, Office data

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