Social Influence and the Emergence of Norms Amid Ties of Amity and Enmity

by James A. Kitts


This paper explores the coevolution of social networks and behavioral norms. Previous research has investigated the long-term behavior of feedback systems of attraction and influence, particularly the tendency toward homogenization in arbitrary cultural fields. This paper extends those models by allowing that norms diffuse not only by simple contagion but through intentional sanctioning behavior among peers. Further, the model allows for negative relations, where actors differentiate themselves from enemies while seeking to align themselves with friends. Sociometric maps reveal nontrivial system dynamics – structural bifurcation, discrimination between factions, and cycles of deviance and solidarity – emerging from a few elementary agent-level assumptions.

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This article is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0433086.

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).