Spatializing Social Networks

The article Spatializing Social Networks: Using Social Network Analysis to Investigate Geographies of Gang Rivalry, Territoriality, and Violence in Los Angeles by Radil et al. (2010) gives light to not only the relevance of the GIScience (though the authors don’t explicitly use the term GIScience) lens but also to its broad applicability for understanding social problems.  The authors first examine the idea of embeddedness, an integral theme of geography, and tie this to the gang’s territoriality and associated violence.  These two variables work very well for defining the social networks of gangs as their relationships are based on continuing rivalries.  I was particularly intrigued by how they used three splits of correlations analyses to quantify the relationships between territories; this has potential to offer increased surveillance of areas potentially considered hot spots as well as outlining areas for interventions.  By interventions I’m thinking of targeted anti-gang education and off-the-street programs for schools in the Region, especially since the school district was mentioned as one of the social factors separating the gangs in Hollenbeck from interacting with gangs in the rest of LA.  Lastly and on a larger scale, social networks have always been an integral part of humanity as we are inherently social beings, but as the world becomes more interconnected (via globalization) I am left contemplating the implications of such rapidly expanding social networks and how spatial networks will continue to shape the modern world?




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