Networks ICA Preconf

Time: Thursday, May 21 2015, 9:00 to 17:00
Location: Caribe Hilton, Conference Room 3/4/5

After last year’s very successful workshop, we are very excited to organize a preconference workshop on social and semantic network analysis again for the ICA 2015 in Puerto Rico. While communication is essentially a networked phenomenon, especially with the digitisation of both mass media and a large part of interpersonal communication, explicit network theories and methodologies remain underused in studying communication.

This workshop aims to fill this gap by showcasing some of the recent methodological advances and interesting applications of network theories. Substantively, we have a strong lineup including talks by Michael Mangus e.a. on semantic networks of moral content in the news, Daniel Maier e.a. on combining topic modeling and hyperlink analysis to map the “networked public sphere”, and Johanne Saint-Charles and Pierre Mongeau who show how network analysis can be used to study social influence and shared language use.

There will also be a number of interesting methodological talks aimed at introducing new tools to the audience, including a talk by Jana Diesner on extracting networks from text using the ConText softwer; a talk by Bob van der Velde on LDA; and a talk by Wouter van Atteveldt and Kasper Welbers on using grammatical analysis to extract semantic networks in R.

Read the full programme or the original call for papers (CfP).

Why networks? While the analysis of social networks and semantic networks has quickly advanced over the past years, this development is still weakly received in the communication sciences. Network researchers have developed a whole bouquet of powerful and scalable tools and methods to the analysis of discourse texts and communicative interactions, and first inroads are being cut toward the joint analysis of social and semantic network data. However, these methods’ communication theoretic foundations, as well as their applications for addressing pressing questions in the field are still underdeveloped. Moreover, social and semantic network analytic approaches are most commonly considered separately. Yet, communication processes inevitably include patterns of both social relations and semantic contents, which can often be fruitfully conceptualized as networks. Building upon last year’s preconference on this theme, this event is aimed to connect network analytic methodology with important developments in the field of communication research, such as:

  • the rising attention to the semantic substance and meaning of messages and the configuration of different communication content exchanged in public discourses
  • The theoretically grounded integration of text and social network data in communication analysis (e.g., in social media communication).
  • the rising importance of networked organizations and forms of organizing and communicating with flat hierarchies, a dedifferentiation of communicator roles, and self-organizing publics
  • the reconceptualization of existing communication patterns, social structures, institutions, and other in society in terms of interaction networks

The preconference is co-sponsored by the ICA Communication & Technology Division, the ICA Mass Communication Division and the ICA Political Communication Division, but it touches upon the fields of many more ICA divisions and interest groups. The preconference aims to bring together researchers from different backgrounds, including theoretically, methodologically, and practically oriented researchers in diverse fields of application, both inside and outside the academia. It thereby aims to instill a mutual learning process and exchange innovative ideas and challenges for the further development of network analysis in communication research.