The role of social networks: Mark Granovetter

  • Machiel ReindersEmail author


Structural transformations or transitions are necessary to resolve social problems. A ‘transition’ can be defined as a long-term process of change during which a society or a subsystem of society is fundamentally altered (Loorbach and Rotmans, 2006). Transitions require systems of innovations. Typically, this implies the co-evolution of different innovations within technological niches and developments on an exogenous (societal) level that put pressure on socio-technical systems, forcing them to change (Geels, 2004). However, socio-technical systems do not function autonomously, but are the outcome of the activities of human actors who are embedded in social groups. Though social groups have their own characteristics, the fact that groups are often mutually interdependent and are characterised by interpersonal interaction is an important notion in transition theory (e.g. Geels, 2004). As this chapter will show, the analysis of these interaction processes in interpersonal networks is helpful in relating micro-level (niche-level) developments by individual actors to higher level patterns (like socio-technical regimes and landscapes).


Tacit Knowledge Transition Theory Complex Knowledge Social Network Theory Technological Trajectory 
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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI)Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenNetherlands

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