Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Using Sociometry Informally

Originally posted on April 26, 2017

My point is that it’s not necessary to do sociometry (as described in many papers). One can begin to think about one’s social network in a somewhat structured way. A few years ago, Russell Brandon wrote about Moreno (and sociometry—though he didn’t mention that word) on the internet recently ( ).
   The key is that these charts are of questionable use, and Brandon speculates on this. My own point is that the focus is placed on the chart itself rather than the process and the people making the charts. “So what?” is the key question, not to shrug off the chart, but to ask people to seriously engage in contemplating the implications. Why is one person relatively isolated, and what does it mean that another person, who is highly chosen, has no particular official role in the group. Popularity as a word may be misleading. Depending on the question, y is not the one to go to for some criteria, but seems to be thought of as a resource for other criteria. The key word is criteria!

Getting people to think about their preferences and interpersonal choices is part of the next step in the raising of global consciousness. Preferences may involve other people, compatibilities, etc., or they may be more impersonal—regions, the weather, cost, etc. The real point is to raise these themes as a matter of shared knowledge. If John likes to work in the garden and Jane wants to fix the sink, let ‘em—don’t rely on sexist clichés! But how to ask, and even just to ask, this involves a consciousness-shift. You mean you can ask about such things and get an honest answer? Yes, if you set up the asking right.

We are emerging so gradually from an era of role expectations: Men do this, women do that. Old people can’t… Young folks can’t… New Yorkers can’t… All Texans do… Whatever. Stereotypes that marginalize certain people. People of color being the stars of situation comedies? Unthinkable through the 1950s. Barely thinkable but radical in the 60s, then mandatory but with limits in the 70s. Back to sociometry: The real point is not the charts, but the conversation that is triggered by the charts, and often that requires someone to interpret and ask questions.

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