Similarity, Selection and Influence: A Cross-Disciplinary Symposium on Homophily in Social Networks (7-8 July, 2022)

Organized by The Patio and the Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Groningen Online/hybrid (Groningen, the Netherlands)

The idea that similarity breeds connection, in network terms, is captured by the concept of homophily. This refers to the tendency of people to associate with similar others, and it can be regarded as a fundamental pattern to understand human relations. As such, the study of homophily can provide key insights into the flow of information and behaviors within any type of society or community, past and present. 

Established and early career researchers will present and discuss both quantitative and qualitative network science research on homophily in social networks across many fields (e.g. Communication, Media Studies, History, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, etc). 

We welcome Bernie Hogan (University of Oxford) and Miranda Lubbers (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) for keynote lectures and provide two hands-on workshops plus several presentations delivered by early career researchers.

Paper submissions due May 15, 2022 (more information in cfp below)

Register for the symposium here (registration necessary)

Fee: €50 

Questions? Contact us at

Call for Papers

Submissions due: May 15, 2022 | Notification due: May 31, 2022 


We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the symposium “Similarity, Selection and Influence: A Cross-Disciplinary Symposium on Homophily in Social Networks”. The two-day symposium will feature workshops, live panels, paper presentations and networking events. 

We invite papers by PhD students and early career researchers (within 5 years post PhD conferral) with an interest in network science. We welcome both quantitative and qualitative original submissions that expand our understanding of homophily in social networks across many fields, including (but not limited to): Communication, Media Studies, History, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, Journalism and Artificial Intelligence. 

Keynote speakers: dr. Bernie Hogan (University of Oxford) & dr.  Miranda Lubbers (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). 

Workshops: Network visualisation by dr. Gert Stulp (University of Groningen) & Qualitative Structural Analysis, by dr. Andreas Herz (Deutsches Jugendinstitut).


We invite papers dealing with network homophily in topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Communication (including social media)
  • Political polarisation
  • Migration and transnationalism
  • Climate change and environment
  • History & Culture (including networks in literature and arts)
  • Organisation and business
  • Network methods (e.g., neural networks, agent based modelling, qualitative network analysis)


Abstracts of max. 2500 characters (± 500 words) can be submitted through the abstract submission form.

If you would like to attend without submitting an abstract, please subscribe using this attendance form.


A selection of the best submissions will receive an invitation to submit their work to an interdisciplinary journal on social networks (TBA).


  • Marc Esteve Del Valle, PhD (University of Groningen, Centre for Media and Journalism Studies)
  • Silvia Donker, MA (University of Groningen, History of Philosophy and Science)
  • Sean White, PhD (University College Groningen, Business & Entrepreneurship)
  • Franco Ruzzenenti, PhD (University of Groningen, Faculty of Science and Engineering)
  • Susan Aasman, PhD (University of Groningen, Director Centre for Digital Humanities)

We encourage participation from researchers of all disciplines and especially from traditionally underrepresented groups in Academia.

The symposium will be held in hybrid form due to possible COVID-19 restrictions. Online as well as in-person attendance is possible. For more information and updates, visit our website. Questions? Email us at

Symposium: Workshops, July 7

1. Network Data Visualization in R

Short bio: Gert Stulp is an associate professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Groningen. He studies reproductive decision-making from a biosocial perspective and tries to understand which social and biological factors contribute most to variation in the number of children people have. The statistical programming language R features in nearly all of his work, allowing state-of-the-art analyses and visualisations, and reproducible workflows.

Workshop: in this workshop, we’ll focus on producing network-visualisation in R. We’ll use the packages, {ggplot2}, {tidygraph}, and {ggiraph} to create many different types of visualisations of both socio-centric and ego-centric networks. No previous experience with R is required. Bringing your own data to the workshop will help learning!

2. Qualitative Structural Analysis

Short bio: Andreas Herz is a postdoctoral researcher at the German Youth Institute (DJI)/ Munich/ Germany. Previously he was a researcher at the University of Hildesheim/ Germany. His areas of interest are research methods (esp. social network analysis), youth, and mobility.

Workshop: Qualitative Structural Analysis (QSA) is an approach for analyzing qualitative network data (e.g. network maps and narrative data from interviews). QSA combines the analytical perspective of structural analysis and analytical standards taken from qualitative social research (sequential analysis, sensitizing concepts, memo writing). The workshop will briefly introduce the basics of QSA.