Structural cohesion and embeddedness: A hierarchical concept of social groups
Although questions about social cohesion lie at the core of our discipline, definitions are often vague and difficult to operationalize. Here, research on social cohesion and social embeddedness is linked by developing a concept of structural cohesion based on network node connectivity. Structural cohesion is defined as the minimum number of actors who, if removed from a group, would disconnect the group. A structural dimension of embeddedness can then be defined through the hierarchical nesting of these cohesive structures. The empirical applicability of nestedness is demonstrated in two dramatically different substantive settings, and additional theoretical implications with reference to a wide array of substantive fields are discussed.
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