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Lijun Song

Associate Professor of Sociology
Affiliated Faculty, Department of Medicine, Health and Society, and Department of Asian Studies

What are the causes and consequences of social networks across society and time?

My work lies in the social network research tradition dating back to the very beginning of sociology as a discipline. My overarching research question is “what are the causes and consequences of social networks across society and time?” I investigate three major research themes: how social networks produce inequalities in health and well-being, how social networks generate social stratification, and how social forces stratify social networks.

My recent award-winning innovative research contributes a new theoretical framework on the double-edged (protective and detrimental) role of social networks. I propose social cost theory in competition with social capital theory to theorize the double-edged function of accessed status (network members’ status). I further propose competing institutional explanations (collectivistic advantage, collectivistic disadvantage, and inequality structure) to theorize and compare the varying explanatory power of social cost theory and social capital theory across culture and society. As my original findings suggest, social cost theory applies more to collectivistic and unequal societies, whereas social capital theory applies more to individualistic and egalitarian societies.

Links  to My Website and Google Scholar Citations.