These approaches were mathematically formalized in the 1950s and theories and methods of social networks became pervasive in the social and behavioral sciences by the 1980s.Social network analysis is now one of the major paradigms in contemporary sociology, and is also employed in a number of other social and formal sciences.
The term is used to describe a social structure determined by such interactions.
The ties through which any given social unit connects represent the convergence of the various social contacts of that unit.
This theoretical approach is, necessarily, relational. An axiom of the social network approach to understanding social interaction is that social phenomena should be primarily conceived and investigated through the properties of relations between and within units, instead of the properties of these units themselves.
This article is about the theoretical concept as used in the social and behavioral sciences.
For social networking sites, see Social networking service. For other uses, see Social network (disambiguation).