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Scale-free and small-world networks in geographical research: A critical examination

Abstract : A rapid surge of interest for networks in the late 1990s throughout natural and social sciences has witnessed the emergence and the diffusion of new concepts and measures. In this paper, we wish to examine how two recent models of networks (i.e. scale-free and small-world) have been integrated in the works of geographers, what have been the benefits, and whether such concepts are likely to increase their influence in further works on networks. First, we propose a critical review of the 'scale-free' and 'small-world' concepts, notably based on a review of the physics literature. The second section examines the spatial dimension in networks studies, and the third one evaluates how geographers have used these measures and concepts in their works. In conclusion, we question the benefits of these two models of networks to geography compared with other approaches such as the ones developed in sociology.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 1:57:24 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:32 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 16, 2011 - 2:27:40 AM


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  • HAL Id : halshs-00623927, version 1


Laurent Beauguitte, César Ducruet. Scale-free and small-world networks in geographical research: A critical examination. 17th European Colloquium on Theoretical and Quantitative Geography, Sep 2011, Athènes, Greece. pp.663-671. ⟨halshs-00623927⟩



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