A social network is a structure of social relationships linking actors, directly and indirectly (Lin et al. 1981b, 1981c; Mitchell 1969). Among various levels of complex social structures, social networks serve as a crucial mediating layer (Bian 1997; Burt 1992; Cook and Whitmeyer 1992; Lin 1990, 2001a; Song 2013b; Song and Pettis 2018). Traced back to the classic sociological work by Durkheim, Simmel, and Tönnies, the social network perspective has empowered researchers to identify various network properties and theorize and analyze their causes and consequences for thirteen decades. Among other network-based factors, the concept of social support has been given voluminous research attention especially for its diverse roles for health for more than four decades (for reviews see Barrera 2000; Berkman et al. 2000; Song et al. 2011; Thoits 2011; Turner and Brown 2010; Turner and Turner 2013; Uchino 2009; Umberson and Montez 2010). It has been claimed to be one possible fundamental social determinant of health (Link and Phelan 1995).
Lijun Song, Rachel Skaggs and Cleothia Frazier
Chapter 7 examines patterns of education homogamy in China, which refers to people’s tendency to marry those with similar educational attainment. It is a crucial determinant of the distribution of various resources (social, economic, and cultural capital) and serves as a key mate selection criterion. It summarizes seven hypotheses can predict an increasing trend: educational homogenization, status attainment, educational legitimacy, economic inequality, promoted sameness, female economic attractiveness, and gender inequality. In contemporary China, the rapid educational expansion and the rising return to education may lead support to three hypotheses: educational homogenization, status attainment, and educational legitimacy. The increasing economic distances require attention to the economic inequality hypothesis. Additionally, gender-related social factors play a role in spousal resemblance on education. The increasing gender segregation in occupations and earning differentiation calls for research on the gender inequality hypothesis. Finally, attention to the rural_urban divide is required in the study of educational homogamy partly because of differences in the population structure and marriage patterns.
Lijun Song, Cleothia G. Frazier and Philip J. Pettis
In this chapter the authors provide a thorough grounding in Bourdieu (1986) and Lin (2001). The application of sociology to networks brings some novel outcomes. While network resources generally bring positive effects on health and wellbeing, the social relationships within the network could bring negative effects. The research describes, for example, how competing subgroups can develop for the resource. The authors explain results contrary to the usual intuitive outcome. They also explain the effect of circumstances that limit the “reachability” of one’s desired goals.
Edited by Ronald S. Burt, Yanjie Bian, Lijun Song and Nan Lin
There are moments in the order of things during which scholarly thinking takes a turn. What was a productive way of looking at things is put aside in transition to something new. The transition is occasionally based on solid evidence, sometimes an escape from boredom, perhaps too often it is a group of scholars hoping to find identity by institutionalizing new words. Whatever the reason for it, the transition puts a spotlight on individual character. The conservative hangs onto the old, peeled away eventually at death’s door. The faddish jumps on the new, nervously eyeing the horizon for the next something new. Thankfully there are also people - in some circles known as entrepreneurs, or creatives, or network brokers - for whom transition is an opportunity to mix bits of the old and new to better understand the world.