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What is the relationship between Personal Social Network and Social Structure? Explain briefly.

What is the relationship between Personal Social Network and Social Structure? Explain briefly.

Course: ba sociology

1 Answer


Fleeting social contacts e.g. at marketplace, can lead to a series of interactions. However unless the relation is reciprocal, and stable with mutual benefits, it becomes difficult to do an empirical research. Also distinction between types of social relations-instrumental and expressive-is difficult to make. Another crucial problem which one confronts in identifying a personal network is the mobilisability of the members by an ego. That is, how far the members act in accordance with the ego’s request is not easily known. There are various factors which determine this. Finally, the most problematic area in an network is the determination of its boundary.

Egocentric network emerges when a person becomes the coordination of a network. However, by acquiring certain additional traits and change, an egocentric network may change to a group network. This may happen vice-versa too. With the weakening of the group structure it may become a personal or egocentric network. It can thus be seen that personal networks are closely related to the social structure.


Personal Network and Formal Organization: The introduction of formal organizations which consist of clearly defined rules and regulations, impersonal relations and goal-orientation, in a traditional society such as India, has given rise to resources network. To mobilize the power of formal organization for personal ends, certain personal networks are active. They are milled resource network and are the extracts from the total network. The members of resources network may be linked on the basis of kinship, caste, family, classmate-ship etc.

The Concept of ‘Source’: When the sense of obligation continue and get stabilized in a resource network there emerges an identity of sorts and it becomes a resource group. A social network is basically a set of actors and relations that hold these actors together. Actors can be individuals or aggregate units such as departments, organizations, or families. Actors form social networks by exchanging one or many resources with each other. Such resources can be information, goods, services, social support or financial support. These kinds of resource exchanges are considered a social network relation, where individuals who maintain the relation are said to maintain a tie.

Resource Network and Resource Groups: A resource network is a part of the total network. It is based on the criterion of shared interest in the mobilization of power of formal organizations for personal ends. Therefore, it may be called partial network. It may, be either ego-centric personal networks or non-ego-centric personal networks. The linkage between the members of a personal resource network may be diverse. They may be based on caste, family, classmate-ship etc. An ego may have different degrees of understanding with the members of his resource network regarding the mobilisability of each-other, Both resource network and resource group are seen as extension of traditional social order within the formal organizations as they serve particular, personal ends.

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July 19, 2019