Small Worlds and Cultural Polarization

Andreas Flache*, Michael W. Macy

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

109 Citaten (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Building on Granovetter's theory of the "strength of weak ties,'' research on "small-world'' networks suggests that bridges between clusters in a social network (long-range ties) promote cultural diffusion, homogeneity, and integration. We show that this macro-level implication of network structure depends on hidden micro-level assumptions. Using a computational model similar to earlier studies, we find that ties between clusters facilitate cultural convergence under the micro-level assumptions of assimilation and attraction to similar others. However, these assumptions also have negative counterparts-differentiation and xenophobia. We found that when these negative possibilities are no longer assumed away, the effect of long-range ties reverses: Even very small amounts of contact between highly clustered communities sharply increased polarization at the population level.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)146-176
Aantal pagina's31
TijdschriftJournal of Mathematical Sociology
Nummer van het tijdschrift1-3
StatusPublished - 2011

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