Return to Empirical Social Reality
White is primarily recognized as a mathematical sociologist and as a model builder, and for many people his name is mainly, if not solely, associated with the analytical tools such as vacancy chains, structural equivalence and blockmodels. Undoubtedly, this is a well-founded reputation, as formal models — formulated in abstract mathematical language — have always occupied a prominent place among White’s academic accomplishments. As the repertoire of his courses listed in Appendix shows, ever since 1959 he has continuously taught sociology students how to model social phenomena. Indeed as the catalog of his writings demonstrates, White’s own practice of model making has an even longer history, going all the way back to his very first publications in theoretical physics — “Superlattice Stability” (1952), “Atomic Force Constants of Copper from Feynman’s Theorem” (1958) and “Queuing with Preemptive Priorities or with Breakdown” (1958). And showing no sign of decline, this practice of constructing formal models continues up to his recent works, Markets from Networks: Socioeconomic Models of Production (2002), “Modeling Discourse in and around Markets” and “Parameterize: Notes on Mathematical Modeling in Sociology,” both from 2000.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.