Panel Paper: Toolkits to Dismantle the Master's House: A Socio-Cultural Network Analysis Model for Human Rights and Social Justice Organizations

Saturday, March 10, 2018
Room 16 (Burkle Family Building at Claremont Graduate University)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Meryah Amanda Fisher, Claremont Graduate University

The question of culture is still fairly new to Social Network Analysis, but researchers have compiled strong evidence indicating culture should be included. Despite these findings little action has occurred towards developing strategies for adequate inclusion outside of these ambiguous claims. This paper will transcend previous scholarship and offer a tangible and repeatable design to address one method of including culture in social network analysis through toolkit attributes assessment. Toolkits are defined as methods or repertoires that include, but are not limited to, symbols, stories, rituals, and worldviews that are used to actively engage constituents in the construction and implementation of strategic (socio-)political actions, thus providing an essential link between peoples with shared cultures (i.e. identity-specific organization members) and (socio-)political action. With the use of 50 randomly selected human rights/social justice organizations across 8 major identities (shared cultures), and 10 carefully constructed toolkit attributes, this paper uses raw, original data to determine the links between these organizations with respect to both their toolkit attribute usages and their geographic locations. The results indicate low percentages of centrality and density among the 7 distinct cliques formed after cumulating the attribute data, however significant geographic dispersal resulted in the creation of 19 distinct clusters. Two central organizational policy implications arise from the toolkit data results: 1) internal organizational policies for recruiting and hiring more diverse leadership is either nonexistent or inadequate, and 2) results support previous research on organizational roles in low voter turnout on non-election years which directly affects policy adoptions, particularly at state and local levels. Further, this paper identifies and briefly examines two policy models - Social Constructions of Target Populations and Policy Innovation/Diffusion models - that can be influential in future research for understanding and suggesting changes to organizational policies and behaviors from a shared culture perspective. This paper is a “stepping stone” for future endeavors to address critical gaps between common citizens, organizations, and (socio-)political engagements through providing substance to previous scholarship’s claim that culture matters in Social Network Analysis, especially with regards to policy analyses and political network research.