Reading list: Using social network analysis (SNA) in social-ecological studies

The emergent field that uses social network analysis (SNA) to analyze social-ecological systems and problems in natural resource management is growing. For those interested in reading into this field, I thought I share a reading list I am preparing for a PhD course on SNA that I will give at Arizona State University in connection to the Resilience 2011 Conference. The course is only open for ASU students, but for those interested you read more on my blog In Rhizomia []. If you are interested in discussing network analysis in social-ecological studies, there is, as I have mentioned before on this blog, an e-list called NASEBERRY that you can join (e-mail me at henrik.ernstson[AT] and let me know).

Example of literature on SNA in NRM (to be completed and might change)

This is a selective reading list for those interested in starting to use social network analysis (SNA) in social-ecological studies.

The first good empirical study using social network analysis in the social-ecological field is by Schneider et al. (2003) on collaborative networks in estuary management. Together with Örjan Bodin and Beatrice Crona we summarized a set of arguments for the value of SNA for NRM studies in Bodin, Crona and Ernstson (2006), whereas a summary of empirical studies were made later (Bodin and Crona 2009). Christina Prell, Klaus Hubacek, Mark Reed and others have published on stakeholder selection and social learning (Prell et al. 2009), and Saduiel Ramirez-Sanchez has studied fisheries in Mexico (Ramirez-Sanchez and Pinkerton 2009). A good study for those interested in dynamic policy proceses is by Sandström and Carlsson (2008). An interesting application using 2-mode network analysis was recently made by Andrés Marín and Fikret Berkes on small-scale fisheris in Chile (Marín and Berkes 2010). (In an upcoming book edited by Bodin and Prell several of these authors are contributing with chapters, and some of our chapters might replace some of the articles in the final reading list of the course.)

One of the first urban applications using SNA in social-ecological studies was my study of social movements and the protection of urban ecosystems in Stockholm (Ernstson et al. 2008)(See also connection to cultural framing theory and qualitative data (using ANT) in Ernstson and Sörlin (2009).). This has lead to an articulation of “transformative collective action” in an upcoming chapter (Ernstson accepted). Together with collegues, we used social network theory to understand adaptive governance through synthesizing several urban case studies in Stockholm (Ernstson et al. 2010) that could be useful for all interested in multi-scale governance and social learning. An inspiration for me when it comes to urban areas, social movements and social networks has always bin Mario Diani (see e.g. Diani (1992), Diani and McAdam (2003), and Diani and Bison (2004). More urban social-ecological studies using SNA are forthcoming, partly as a result of when I gave this course in 2009 in Cape Town. Students from that .)

The above mentioned references can serve as entry point to the course (those marked with * below are less central), but should be complemented with the following from the SNA field: the short but effective review by Borgatti et al. (2009), the classic by Granovetter (1973), and the very useful SNA textbook and handbook to UCINET by Hanneman and Riddle (2005) (downloable for free, see below). Other good textbooks are Scott’s (2000) and Degenne and Forsé’s (1999). For those getting serious (!), a must-have is still the SNA “cookbook” by Wasserman and Faust (1994). The exact reading list might however still change.

(Those marked with * in the list indicates that you can initially skip these. Those marked with ** have notes at the end).

Bodin, Ö., B. Crona, and H. Ernstson. 2006. Social networks in natural resource management: What is there to learn from a structural perspective? Ecology and Society 11:r2. URL:

Bodin, Ö. and B. I. Crona. 2009. The role of social networks in natural resource governance: What relational patterns make a difference? Global Environmental Change 19:366-374. URL:

Borgatti, S. P., A. Mehra, D. J. Brass, and G. Labianca. 2009. Network analysis in the social sciences. Science 323:892-895. [Longer pre-publication pdf version can be found on Stephen Borgatti's homepage here.]

Crona, B. and Ö. Bodin. 2006. WHAT you know is WHO you know? Communication patterns among resource users as a prerequisite for co-management. Ecology and Society 11:7. URL:

**Degenne, A. and M. Forsé. 1999. Introducing Social Networks. Sage Publications, London. [Review for this book can be found here.]

*Diani, M. 1992. The concept of social movement. Sociological Review 40:1-25.

*Diani, M. and I. Bison. 2004. Organizations, coalitions and movements. Theory and Society 33:281-309.

*Diani, M. and D. McAdam, editors. 2003. Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Ernstson, H. accepted. Transformative collective action: a network approach to transformative change in ecosystem-based management. Page Ch 11 in Ö. Bodin and C. Prell, editors. Social Networks and Natural Resource Management: Uncovering the Social Fabric of Environmental Governance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ernstson, H., S. Barthel, E. Andersson, and S. T. Borgström. 2010. Scale-crossing brokers and network governance of urban ecosystem services: The case of Stockholm, Sweden. Ecology and Society:in press.

*Ernstson, H. and S. Sörlin. 2009. Weaving protective stories: connective practices to articulate holistic values in Stockholm National Urban Park. Environment and Planning A 41:1460–1479.

Ernstson, H., S. Sörlin, and T. Elmqvist. 2008. Social movements and ecosystem services – the role of social network structure in protecting and managing urban green areas in Stockholm. Ecology and Society 13:39. URL:

Granovetter, M. 1973. The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology 76:1360-1380.

**Hanneman, R. A. and M. Riddle. 2005. Introduction to Social Network Methods. University of California (published in digital form at, Riverside, CA.

Marín, A. and F. Berkes. 2010. Network approach for understanding small-scale fisheries governance: The case of the Chilean coastal co-management. Marin Policy in press.

Prell, C., K. Hubacek, and M. Reed. 2009. Stakeholder Analysis and Social Network Analysis in Natural Resource Management. Society & Natural Resources 22:501-518.

Ramirez-Sanchez, S. and E. Pinkerton. 2009. The impact of resource scarcity on bonding and bridging social capital: the case of fishers’ information-sharing networks in Loreto, BCS, Mexico. Ecology and Society 14:22.

Sandström, A. and L. Carlsson. 2008. The performance of policy networks: the relation between network structure and network performance. Policy Studies Journal 36:497-524.

Schneider, M., J. Scholz, M. Lubell, D. Mindruta, and M. Edwardsen. 2003. Building consensual institutions: networks and the National Estuary Program. American Journal of Political Science 47:143-158.

**Scott, J. 2000. Social Network Analysis. A handbook. 2 edition. Sage Publications, London.

Wasserman, S. and K. Faust. 1994. Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

** As textbook, choose either Scott, or Degenne and Forsé. Hanneman and Riddle can also be used as a textbook, but is also an instructive manual for UCINET.

Download Hanneman and Riddle 2005 here (it’s freeware):
Or here.

Short about the SNA course in Phoenix

Using Social Network Analysis in (Urban) Social-Ecological StudiesPhD course 6-8 March, 2011 at Arizona State University. Given by Dr Henrik Ernstson, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, & Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University.

The course will start in January with reading and essay writing and then have three intense days in Phoenix, 6-8 March, 2011. The main aim is to help students to develop their own empirical case studies. I am not sure yet, but I believe the course will only be open to ASU students (having 10 participants).

Through this course you will:
- Learn about social network theory and methods
- Get the chance to develop your own case study
- Attain basic skills in analyzing empirical data with UCINET software
- Discuss how network analysis can be paired with qualitative methods and theories
- Discuss natural resource management and social-ecology from a network perspective

If you are an ASU student, you can apply through sending an e-mail to me (henrik.ernstson[AT]

More information on my blog In Rhizomia (SNA course).

[This post was originally posted on my blog In Rhizomia]

2 thoughts on “Reading list: Using social network analysis (SNA) in social-ecological studies”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>