Commercial Networks and European Cities, 1400-1800 , London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014, 306 pp. isbn 978-1-848-93450-4, $99.00. Many scholars have jumped on the social network bandwagon in recent years and as a result the concept, at least among historians, has become muddled. Social network analysis as a theory and methodology attempts to quantify in graphic form voluntary, non-hierarchical, and informal social relations among individuals or groups of individuals with a shared goal. Many historians, however, have been very loose with the concept of network analysis and have viewed almost any social relationship as a network. Precisely because there has been some confusion about what network analysis is and how it can be used effectively in history, this book is a welcome addition to the literature. The book’s focus, as the title suggests, is commercial networks in early modern European cities. The authors’ research specialties, however, give the book a decidedly southern European orientation, with all but a few of the contributions focusing on Italian or Iberian cities, or Italian or Iberian merchants. That said, the volume offers a reasonable variety of case studies in which social network analysis has been applied. The first two chapters (in Part i
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Jun 18, 2015
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