Verkosto yhteiskuntatieteellisenä metaforana

The network metaphor in social science

The article presents an analysis of the qualities of the network metaphor in the language of social sciences. Network is a metaphor in at least three different meanings. As an orientation metaphor it emphasises its ability to render physical and social distances unimportant. In this use it stresses the qualities of co-operation and flexibility in social systems. However, it is possible to use the concept of network also in the analysis of power by interpreting network as a container or as a conduit metaphor. When seen in this way, the network illustrates strategies of social power in forming webs of influence and control: those who have power are inside the network, and those who are in control of the important nodes of the network have a capacity to control different flows going through the network.

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