Encyclopedia of Social Network Analysis and Mining

Living Edition
| Editors: Reda Alhajj, Jon Rokne

Origins of Social Network Analysis

  • David KnokeEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7163-9_362-1


Interpersonal relations; Link analysis; Relational analysis; Social interaction; Social structural analysis



Two actors and one or more relations among them

Field Observation:

The collection of information in natural social settings

Social Network:

A set of actors and the set of relations among them

Social Network Analysis:

Methods for collecting and analyzing data on actors and their relations


Methods for measuring social relations in a small group


A diagram of labeled points and lines representing a set of relations among individuals in a small group

Tertius Gaudens:

(“the third who benefits”) A third party who affects a relation between two other parties


three actors and one or more relations among them

Origins of Social Network Analysis

Social network analysis originated during the first half of the twentieth century in the disciplines of psychology, sociology, social psychology, and anthropology. Core concepts and principles of...


Social Network Analysis Informal Relation Triad Member French Sociology Business School Faculty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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I thank Linton C. Freeman for his valuable counsel in developing the set of topics for the history of social network analysis appearing in the Encyclopedia. He was unable to write this entry, but his researches on the era remain an indispensable guide to the origins of the field.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Talel Abdessalem
    • 1
  • Rokia Missaoui
    • 2
  1. 1.telecom-paristechParisFrance
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringUniversité du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)GatineauCanada