Social Networks and Local Development

Social Networks and Local Development

Javier Esparcia (University of Valencia, Spain) & Xavier Molina (University Jaume I, Spain)

Often studies on socio-economic development and territorial dynamics of change focus on attributive characteristics of the units of analysis, whether entrepreneurs, public actors, stakeholders and even administrative units.

This session focuses however on the role of relational features, and therefore the analysis of territorial dynamics and processes of local and regional development through Social Network Analysis (SNA).
We encourage studies that highlight the relationship between socio-economic dynamics and structure of social networks.

On the one hand, proposals may focus on applications related to as how relational characteristics affect cluster, districts or similar entities at different levels. In this sense, some authors has attempted to unpack cluster benefits arguing there are different kinds of networks and flows which should not be put all together (Breschi and Lissoni, 2001). The opportunity structures in clusters vary and therefore some cluster structures are more favorable to development than others (Lazaric et al. 2008). 

On the other hand, we also encourage studies on relational features in certain areas and / or groups of actors (eg. LEADER territories). The goal here is to analyze not only the compared characteristics between actors and territories, but also the relationship of relational features of the social networks in the area with such processes of socioeconomic change as well as governance mechanisms and, in general , the implementation of public policies (Marquardt et al. 2012, Esparcia et al., 2013).

Any other applications dealing with the analysis of local development processes through SNA are welcome.


Breschi, S. and Lissoni, F. (2001) ‘Knowledge spillovers and Local Innovation Systems: A critical survey’, Industrial and Corporate Change 10: 975-100.
Esparcia, J., Escribano, J. (2013): Social Networks, leadership and resilience in times of crisis. Some evidences from rural Spain. XXV European Congress of Rural Sociology (ESRS). Rural Resilience and Vulnerability. The Rural as Locus of Solidarit and Conflict in Times of Crisis. 29/July - 01 August 2013, Florence. Books of Abstracts, pp. 151-152.
Larazic, N., C. Longhi, et al. (2008). “Gatekeepers of knowledge versus platforms of knowledge: from potential to realized absorptive capacity.” Regional Studies 42(6): 837-852.
Marquardt, D., Möllers, J. and G. Buchenrieder(2012): Social Networks and Rural Development: LEADER in Romania. Sociologia Ruralis,52 (4), 398-431.




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