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Studying the Social Networks of Dual Career Couples

Linda Garro

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 14


Personal social networks – of kin, friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances – vary greatly from individual to individual, and a number of dimensions of differentiation have been proposed by social network analysts. According to Wellman (1990:195-196): “Social network analysis helps researchers to compare kin with kith. In a tradition started by Bott (1957), network analysts look at how a person (or household) at the center of a network deals with the members of her/his egocentric universe. The network approach treats a community as a set of relationships stretching beyond the household – without a priori limitation on where network members live and how they are related to the person at the center of the network.” This paper presents the rationale and format of the social networks elicitation process designed for use in the research project carried out by the UCLA Center on the Everyday Lives of Families (CELF). Some implementation guidelines are also provided. Because of these rather specific foci, a general review of the social networks literature is not provided but reference is made to specific writings contributing to and informing the present design. All of the studies discussed in the paper are based on work carried out in North America or western Europe, often with members of the “middle class.”

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