Revisiting Bott to Connect the Dots: An Exploration of the Methodological Origins of Social Network Analysis

Alasdair Jones


Against a backdrop of a growing interest in qualitative and mixed-method approaches to social network analysis (SNA) and the exploration of ego-networks, in this article I revisit the pioneering urban families research of the social anthropologist and psychoanalyst Elizabeth BOTT (1971 [1957]) in the mid-twentieth century. While BOTT's work has been widely recognized as formative for contemporary approaches to, and concepts in, SNA, her methodological practice has been under-explored. In the discussion that follows I therefore seek first to precis the methods of data collection and analysis employed by BOTT with a view to distilling insights for current practice. In addition, I analyze the approach to research design taken by BOTT in order to better understand how the social networks innovation her work heralded was realized.


exploratory research; research design; social network analysis; SNA; relational sociology; Elizabeth Bott Spillius

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Copyright (c) 2018 Alasdair Jones

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