Can We Measure Shared Understandings? A Network-Based Approach to the Analysis of Culture



Amir Goldberg,
Marc Ventresca,

Date and Time

November 7, 2013 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

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CISAC Conference Room

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ABOUT THE TOPIC: Culture is often understood as a system of "shared understandings." But what does that mean? Amir Goldberg argues that having a shared understanding with others does not necessarily imply espousing similar beliefs or attitudes. Rather, culture prescribes which beliefs and attitudes go with one another; sharing an understanding therefore suggests being in agreement about the structures of relevance and opposition that make symbols and actions meaningful. Amir uses relational class analysis - a network-based method for analyzing survey data - to map these structures, and find groups of people who share distinctive cultural schemes. This approach lends new insights into understanding the social underpinnings of Americans' complex understandings of music, politics, economic morality, and more.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Professor Goldberg received bachelors' degrees in Computer Science and Film Studies from Tel Aviv University, and an MA in Sociology from Goldsmith’s College, University of London. Before pursuing a PhD in Sociology at Princeton University, he worked for several years as a software programmer, an IT consultant and a technology journalist. An Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior in Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, his research projects all share an overarching theme: the desire to understand the social mechanisms that underlie how people construct meaning, and consequently pursue action. His work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, and he was awarded Princeton University’s Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship.

ABOUT THE COMMENTATOR: Marc Ventresca is University Lecturer in Strategic Management at Said Business School (University of Oxford), England's foremost graduate school of business. Dr. Ventresca, who earned his PhD in Sociology at Stanford, specializes in governance, entrepreneurship, market and network formation, and technology strategy.

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