Frank Kalter
Social Network Analysis in the Study of Ethnic Inequalities

Robert A. Scott, Marlis C. Buchmann (Eds.): Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisciplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource. 2016. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Standard large-scale survey designs and methods enabled integration research to progress far in recent decades, emphasizing especially the structural aspects of ethnic minorities' integration. To further increase our understanding, the role social aspects play in the complex process of integration merits more attention. Within this endeavor, network analytical designs and techniques provide a particularly promising complement to the standard empirical research agenda. Network analysis provides adequate measures for diverse subaspects of social integration and allows to tackle key open questions and issues, such as disentangling mechanisms of choice from those of opportunity structure or of selection from influence. The use of network analytical tools in integration research corresponds to the more general program of analytical sociology calling for a stronger weight of contexts and social interactions within the next generation of empirical research. While standard survey designs and data sets study integration processes pretty much as if actors behaved in isolation, integration is actually a heavily interactive and highly complex dynamic process.