An Adapted Structurational Framework for the Emergence of Communication Networks

Andrew Pilny, Jeffrey D. Proulx, Ly Dinh, Ann L. Bryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Although structuration theory (ST) has endured a considerable influence in communication research across various domains, there remains a paucity of quantitative empirical research using ST as a viable framework. The purpose of this article is to develop an adapted structurational framework to explain the emergence of communication networks. The adapted framework distinguishes between relational states/events and internal/external structural rules. For analysis, we introduce multipanel relational event modeling, a technique using processual inference that can empirically demonstrate the recursive nature of system and structure. As an introductory example of both the framework and method, we examined communication, using cell-phone data, of students living in the same dormitory from September 2008 through February 2009. Our results demonstrated how different structures (i.e., perceived social relations and internal/external structural rules) are reproduced and transformed over time. Our research has implications for communication research dealing with recursivity, event-driven network analysis, the changing nature of the phone call, and the promise of computational communication science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-94
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Central States Communication Association.


  • Big Data
  • Networks
  • Relational Event Modeling
  • Structuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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