relationship mapping

In the midst of a hectic and bleary day, I participated in a conference

call for members of the steering

committee. I proposed an idea that seemed to get a lot of support. Sociologists

sometimes survey individuals or organizations, asking them with whom they

interact most. They create a database showing all the individuals and

their mutual relations. They then use

"relationship-mapping" software to spit out maps that cluster

all the most closely related individuals together and use lines to show

how they are linked. If we did this to all the groups involved in the

field of deliberative democracy, then we could see which ones work together,

which ones are completely separate, and which organizations serve as bridges

between clusters of groups. This is the kind of analysis that political

organizers have always used; software can help to do it more easily and

thoroughly.

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