Power in politically charged networks

Jason M. Smith, Daniel S. Halgin, Virginie Kidwell-Lopez, Giuseppe Labianca, Daniel J. Brass, Stephen P. Borgatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (SciVal)


We offer a theory and measure for determining powerful nodal positions based on potential inter-actor control in "politically charged" networks, which contain both allies and adversaries. Power is derived from actors that are dependent on the focal actor and sociometrically weak, either due to a lack of alternative allies or from being threatened by others. We create a new Political Independence Index (PII), compare it to other established measures, and illustrate its use in the setting of an international network of alliances and military conflicts from 1946 to 2000. Results show that politically independent nations as measured by PII have smaller increases in military personnel than others over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-176
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to Patrick Doreian, David Lazer, Scott McClurg, members of the LINKS Center for Social Network Analysis at the University of Kentucky, as well as the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions and criticisms. This work was funded in part by grant HDTRA1-08-1-0002-P00002 from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency .

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Conflict
  • Control
  • Political independence
  • Politics
  • Power
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)
  • Psychology (all)


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