``Three Can Keep a Secret if Two are Dead'' (Lavigne, 1996): Weak Ties as Infiltration Routes

``Three Can Keep a Secret if Two are Dead'' (Lavigne, 1996): Weak Ties as Infiltration Routes Among several ways of trying to suppress terrorist conspiracies,infiltration has probably received the least attention.Impressionistic evidence suggests that conspiracies that carry outviolent attacks usually have a small number of participants, and thatlarge conspiracies either fail to materialize, fail to organize actualattacks, or are substantially less difficult to uncover. Due to theprevalence of weak social ties in larger groups there may be anintermediate group size, around 7–10 members, that is highly subjectto infiltration. Building on work by Freeman, Granovetter, and others,this study examines a few features of the social ecology ofinteraction ties. We introduce a procedure for counting,within groups of size $n$, all interacting pairs {P, Q},where P and Q are disjoint or nonoverlapping subsets(Freeman, 1992: 153) of a given group; these subsets usually contain more than one person, i.e., the interacting units do not invariably consist of individuals. This procedure generates interaction configurations having unique patterns of strong, weak, and ``weakest'' ties – i.e., three levels of tie strength corresponding to core, primary, and secondary ties inFreeman's terminology – such that relatively weak ties predominatewithin larger conspiracies. We speculate about ways in which theseconfigurations may evolve through time. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

``Three Can Keep a Secret if Two are Dead'' (Lavigne, 1996): Weak Ties as Infiltration Routes

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1004785122594
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Among several ways of trying to suppress terrorist conspiracies,infiltration has probably received the least attention.Impressionistic evidence suggests that conspiracies that carry outviolent attacks usually have a small number of participants, and thatlarge conspiracies either fail to materialize, fail to organize actualattacks, or are substantially less difficult to uncover. Due to theprevalence of weak social ties in larger groups there may be anintermediate group size, around 7–10 members, that is highly subjectto infiltration. Building on work by Freeman, Granovetter, and others,this study examines a few features of the social ecology ofinteraction ties. We introduce a procedure for counting,within groups of size $n$, all interacting pairs {P, Q},where P and Q are disjoint or nonoverlapping subsets(Freeman, 1992: 153) of a given group; these subsets usually contain more than one person, i.e., the interacting units do not invariably consist of individuals. This procedure generates interaction configurations having unique patterns of strong, weak, and ``weakest'' ties – i.e., three levels of tie strength corresponding to core, primary, and secondary ties inFreeman's terminology – such that relatively weak ties predominatewithin larger conspiracies. We speculate about ways in which theseconfigurations may evolve through time.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Oct 16, 2004

References

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