In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Communication Networks

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Theories
  • Macro-Social Theory
  • Software
  • Simulation
  • Diffusion
  • Evolution
  • Health
  • Exchange Networks and Rational Models

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Communication Communication Networks
Peter Monge, Drew Margolin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 September 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 11 January 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0025

Preparation of this article was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation (IIS-0838548) and by support provided to the Annenberg Networks Network by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.


Network scholarship has grown substantially in the first decade of the 21st century across a wide spectrum of the academy. Network theory, concepts, tools, and techniques have become increasingly central to work in such diverse fields as biology, communication, physics, political science, and economics, to name but a few. This growth has been fostered by a recognition that many phenomena in the social and physical world that have traditionally been studied in isolation are in reality interconnected: in short, linking matters. This recognition has fostered renewed efforts to develop network theory, expand the scope of network research, and connect phenomena across disciplines. These efforts have been aided by at least three important trends. The first is the increased connectivity in social relationships provided by the Internet, mobile phones, and other new communication technologies. The second is a greater ability to gather and analyze large communication and other social data sets. And, the third is the improved computational power and higher level of analytical sophistication provided by new network computer programs. The working bibliography that follows provides an overview of this rapidly growing and changing field, with a focus on theory, method, and selected research topics.

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