Networks of Supreme Court Overturning Decisions
Patrick Doreian | University of Ljubljana & University of Pittsburgh | United States
The network featuring the citation links linking the decisions of the US Supreme Court citing earlier decisions is usually treated as an unsigned network. However, when the Court overturns a prior decision, either completely or in part, this is a negative tie repudiating the earlier decision. A completely new dataset, constructed from multiple sources, was constructed to cover the period from the Court’s inception (1979) through 2005 that featured all instances of a prior decision being overturned. Most often, this has been studied as a pair of decisions in which one over turns the other. We treat this signed network in different ways. One was to build components made up linked decisions with only negative ties: overturning decisions are more than dyadic phenomena. Second, we embed these negative ties in a network featuring also positive ties between these decisions. Applying structural balance theory adapted in terms of consistency between decision reveals this network is no balanced. One surprising result is that there are decisions than have been overturned completely that are still cited as precedent. This calls into question the notion of stare decisis. Finally, we analyze the overturning network in terms of the Chief Justices of the Court. The issue here is whether the decision to overturn one or more prior decisions is judicial, political or motivated by establishing consistency. All three motivations are involved.
”I ain’t got no quarrel with anyone” - How to measure negative ties? A comparison of qualitative and quantitative data collection.
Philip Adebahr | University of Technology Chemnitz | Germany
In our project ‘Aspects of Poverty in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’ (Germany) we collected qualitative and quantitative interview data on ego-centred networks. Analyzing our interviews we recognized huge differences between these two data collection methods regarding the nomination of negative ties, i.e. actors in the network with whom our respondents have a troublesome relationship. Often actors which are described as difficult, wearing, stressing etc. in the narrative part of our interviews are not mentioned in the standardized collection of information on the respondent’s network, where we asked with whom our respondents have quarrels or conflicts.
Our mixed methods data enables us to analyse in-depth what our respondents define as negative ties themselves and what they do not consider as being negative ties. By answering the question ‘which negative ties have not been mentioned in quantitative research and why?’, we identify methodological challenges for the standardized collection of network data and stimulate the discussion on the measurement of negative ties. This is especially relevant regarding the diversity of measurement instruments of negative ties which are reaching from questions on bullying and dislike to questions on stressing and demanding people up to adversary and avoidance.
Between 2013 and 2015 we conducted problem-centred interviews with 55 people living below the poverty line on aspects of poverty, their everyday life and network aspects like their families, friends, social environment and social resources. Afterwards the respondents were requested to map their social networks within a quantitative questionnaire using the software Vennmaker. We used different name generators to collect data on strong and weak ties and we also asked ‘With whom do you occasionally have quarrels or conflicts?’ to collect negative ties. We choose the quarrel or conflict generator to collect not only negative ties (aggregated) but negative aspects of all kinds of ties. In our analysis we contrast the findings of our qualitative and the quantitative data.
We show that respondents are often unaware of negative ties being a relationship when we directly ask in a name generator approach because negative ties are experienced as emotionally distant and not as emotionally close. Furthermore, there is social desirability in a performance-orientated society not to have quarrels with anyone because it restricts the own performance capability. Moreover, negative experiences (e.g. quarrels) are to a certain extend psychologically suppressed and cannot be consciously remembered. We will also present further results on which negative ties are not mentioned when directly asking for quarrels or conflicts.
A Triadic View of Political Power in Signed Graphs: Exploring the Political Independence Index in the International Geopolitical Context
Giuseppe Labianca | University of Kentucky | United States
Interest has grown in understanding which nodal positions in a network of positive and negative ties are in a favorable power position. One new measure of nodal power in signed graphs, the political independence index (Smith, et al., 2014) employs a dependence perspective to determine nodal power. However, it does not take into account whether alters are themselves connected by positive or negative ties. We introduce a new version of the political independence index which takes into account whether the alters are involved in closed triads of different types; this version does a better job of accounting for nations’ changes to their military in the post-World War II period than the original version of PII. We then extend the use of this new version in an interpersonal network within an organization.