Networks in the Global Village

Life in Contemporary Communities


Barry Wellman

First Edition • August 6, 1999 • 377 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813368214 • $51.00 USD$61.50 CAN

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Networks in the Global Village examines how people live through personal communities: their networks of friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers. It is the first book to compare the communities of people around the world. Major social differences between and within the First, Second, and Third Worlds affect the opportunities and insecurities with which individuals and households must deal, the supportive resources they seek, and the ways in which markets, institutions, and networks structure access to these resources. Each article written by a resident shows how living in a country affects the ways in which people use networks to access resources.

Most people’s ties in the developed world are not with neighbors but are widely dispersed. Unlike traditional studies of communities, social network analysis can identify the flourishing personal communities that people do have, no matter how far their ties may stretch and how fragmented their communities may be.

Social networks are one of the principal means by which people and households acquire resources — either directly, through informal exchanges, or indirectly, by providing information on how to access the services provided by governments and other institutions. Networks in the Global Village focuses on how people use these networks around the world.


Barry Wellman is professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. He is chair of the Community and Urban Sociology section of the American Sociological Association, founder and international coordinator of the International Network for Social Network Analysis, focus area advisor for Virtual Communities of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Groupware, and coeditor of Social Structures: A Network Approach.

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