Network Analysis and Morphogenesis: A Neo-Structural Exploration and Illustration

  • Emmanuel LazegaEmail author


This chapter looks at the extent to which network analysis and a neo-structural approach to social phenomena can contribute to the morphogenetic approach in exploring the notion of Morphogenetic Society. An initial summary presents network analysis, in combination with other methodologies, as a technique exploring morphostatic and morphogenetic processes at the meso-level of social reality. An empirical illustration suggests that fundamental social processes (solidarity, control, socialization, regulation, etc.) driving the co-evolution of structure, culture, and agency can be further specified and understood within such a dialogue. In order to illustrate this programmatic perspective an example is provided: a network study of a 450-year-old French institution for the social control of markets. The focus is on the surprising resilience of this institution as seen through the cyclical dynamics of a key network (the advice network) operative among its lay judges and their judicial decisions based on normative, cultural choices. This case in point raises the question of when a change of network should be considered enough of a change to constitute a case of morphogenesis. It thus illustrates the need for further specification in theorizing morphogenesis, morphostasis, and homeostasis.


Network analysis Neo-structural approach Morphogenetic society Fundamental social processes Social control of markets The advice network Theorizing morphogenesis Theorizing morphostasis Theorizing homeostasis 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut d’Etudes Politiques de ParisParisFrance

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