Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology

Networks and participation

Networks and participation: Promoting trust and sustainable cooperation

Social networks – the webs of personal relationships in friendships, online interactions, or trust – are pivotal for sustainable cooperation in communities, organizations and political entities. But networks can also be a major source of conflict and ineffectiveness. Structures of social networks are, moreover, highly important for individuals in searching jobs, housing, partners, or business opportunities. This research cluster develops theories and methods on how social networks form and how they affect participation, trust and cooperation in a range of domains.

The general aim is to unravel how social networks are part of both the genesis of and solution to social problems.

Research in this line aims to show how and under which conditions networks foster trust, integration and cooperation in markets, organizations, communities and on the Internet. Similarly, this research cluster furthers our understanding of how social structures are established and how embeddedness of interactions in networks helps sustain cooperative relations in which social actors successfully achieve common ends and resist temptations to disrupt cooperation by egoistic behavior.

Key Publications

  • Goedkoop, F., Dijkstra, J., & Flache, A (2022). A social network perspective on involvement in community energy initiatives: The role of direct and extended social ties to initiators. Energy Policy 171, December 2022, 113260.    
  • de Matos Fernandes, C., Flache, A., D. Bakker, Dijkstra, J. (2022). A bad barrel spoils a good apple: How uncertainty and networks affect whether meritocratic matching can foster cooperation. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 25 (1) 6.
  • Lazega, E., Snijders, T.A.B., & Rafael P.M. Wittek (eds.) (2022). A Research Agenda for Social Networks and Social Resilience. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN: 978 1 80392 577 6
  • Vriens, E., Buskens, V., & de Moor, T. (2021). Networks and new mutualism: how embeddedness influences commitment and trust in small mutuals. Socio-Economic Review19(3), 1149-1170.
  • Norbutas, L., Ruiter, S., & Corten, R. (2020). Believe it when you see it: Dyadic embeddedness and reputation effects on trust in cryptomarkets for illegal drugs. Social Networks63, 150-161.
  • Otten, K., Buskens, V., Przepiorka, W., & Ellemers, N. (2020). Heterogeneous groups cooperate in public good problems despite normative disagreements about individual contribution levels. Scientific reports10(1), 1-12.
  • Norbutas, L., & Corten, R. (2018). Network structure and economic prosperity in municipalities: a large-scale test of social capital theory using social media data. Social networks, 52, 120-134.
  • Flache, A., Mäs, M., Feliciani, T., Chattoe-Brown, E., Deffuant, G., Huet, S., & Lorenz, J. (2017). Models of social influence: Towards the next frontiers. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 20(4).
  • Przepiorka, W., Norbutas, L., & Corten, R. (2017). Order without law: Reputation promotes cooperation in a cryptomarket for illegal drugs. European Sociological Review, 33(6), 752-764.
  • Buskens, V., & Raub, W. (2013) Rational choice social research on social dilemmas: Embeddedness effects on trust. Pp. 113-150 in R. Wittek, R, & Snijders, T.A.B. (2017). Stochastic Actor-Oriented Models for Network Dynamics. Annual Review of Statistics and its Application, 4, 343-363.
  • Mäs, M., Flache, A., Takács, K. & Jehn, K. (2013). In the short term we divide, in the long term we unite: Demographic crisscrossing and the effects of faultlines on subgroup  polarization. Organization Science 24, 716–736.

Coordinators: Rense Corten, Andreas Flache (contact information)

In the spotlight

Private: SOCION: 30 million euros for social cohesion research

The SOCION consortium, in which social sciences and humanities researchers from five different knowledge institutions are conducting research on social cohesion, has secured a €30 million Summit Grant

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