Translating Barnes together !

Traduire Barnes ensemble !As I did notice at the turn of a ticket issued here in November last year, the text is considered by many as the founding act of the social network analysis is not always translated in French. This is the article published by John A. Barnes (1918-2010) in the journal Human Relations, 1954, and entitled ” Class and Committees in a Norwegian Island Parish “[1].

Off in search of the principles of the social stratification within the community that was are field of thesis, the british anthropologist John A. Barnes has just had to invent the concept of “social network” (social network) to try to explain why the inhabitants of the island, taken in relations tight interaction, considered nearly all as belonging to a large and unique class average. By doing this, not only Barnes ” invents “[2] the concept of social network, but more importantly, in less than twenty pages, it makes some of the most fundamental assumptions whose empirical verification will determine the program of the sociology of social networks in the following decades.

This article is great, founder in more ways than one, unfortunately, is not really available online[3], and has never been translated in French. “It should be that someone will stick ! “, wrote-I in the month of November, with a small idea behind the head, I want you to realize now : I suggest you to participate in an experience quite unprecedented, at least in the social sciences, the collaborative translation online in this article ! The idea is very simple : we set an appointment in some time, for a relatively short period of time (probably a day), during which we find ourselves in line, as many as possible, to translate all in French, the article by John A. Barnes. This “traducthon” will be able to meet some of us physically, for example in a room of the ECOLE normale supérieure de Lyon where we will be able to gather around a wifi connection with our laptops, our dictionaries, sandwiches and cakes ; and all those who wish can join us ” virtually “, since we will be using all have one common feature of word processing collaborative type Etherpad or Google docs where will appear in both the original text in English and next the translation in progress.

But before to ” translate all “, we will have to… buy all the rights to translation of the article ! The rate initially requested by the service of the “permissions” of Sage for the electronic publication non-commercial use of this translation was $ 200, but after discussion, Valerie Bernard, the head of the service, has very kindly agreed to reduce this fee to $ 150.

During today (about 1.3 euro to 1 dollar), we therefore have to collect € 115. As the idea is to experiment with our ability to conduct end-to-end this intellectual operation in a collective manner, I suggest that you create a pool where we will collect this money (I promise I won’t flee Switzerland with this fabulous mint) !

I therefore propose the following schedule for this operation “Translate Barnes together” :

  1. Wait no more, you do not hesitate to share your enthusiasm for this operation, in the proclaiming in the comments of this post, and especially in broadcasting around you information to all those and all those who would be likely to bring their contribution !
  2. By the end of the week, and for a period of about 10 days, I put in place a pot collective in-line enabling us to contribute, each to the extent of our desire and of our means, to the payment rights of translation, to a maximum of 120 euros (115 euros translation rights, plus 5 euros of commission charged by the online service to collect this prize).
  3. At the end of this period, I organized a Doodle that will allow all those and all those who are interested-e-s to indicate the days when he would be available for the traducthon Barnes, in a period probably within the period between 27 February and 27 march (see this post).
  4. A few days prior to the date chosen, I will put online the English version of the article by Barnes, so that all can read it, and that we can have all together a preliminary discussion on the translation of the most important terms and concepts that recur most.
  5. The day says, those who will be in Lyon will be at the ENS of Lyon from 9: 30 am, in a room equipped with a wifi connection, and the other will be joining us through the magic of the Internet, and all together we will translate the text in live and on-line.
  6. Once the translation is completed, and revised collectively, it will be published online in open access, probably on Links Socio.
  7. If the experience was more, one could imagine to start again with another article…

That is, it is gone ! Spread the good news, and feel free to use the comments to share your remarks, your suggestions, your questions…

And see you tomorrow to fill the pot !

The following articles :

Translate Barnes together, step 2 : the pot !

Translate Barnes together, step 3 : the Doodle !

Translate Barnes together : it will be Friday, march 9, 2012


31/01/2012 :

Laurent points out to me that the article by Barnes is actually available online : the american sociologist Barry Wellman, a leading figure of the analysis of the networks, has digitized and put online in a corner of her personal website, at this address :

As well, you can read it now (but don’t cheat, do not start to translate it now, otherwise the collaborative experience will lose some of its pungency).

[1] BARNES, John A. (1954) ” Class and Committees in a norwegian Island Parish “, Human Relations, 7, pp. 39-58.

[2] It is customary to consider that this article offers the first known occurrence of the concept of ” social network “, which has since experienced the success that we know. This rule, however, is not completely certain : a consultation of Google N-Gram Viewer indicates, in fact, instances prior to 1954, some dating back to the end of the Nineteenth century. In fact, we can consider instead of this article, Barnes is one of the first, if not the first, to make the concept of social network use, not only metaphorical, but an analytical, interesting, though not formalized, the properties of the structures of social relations.

[3] the Sage, the publisher of Human Relations, offers to view a PDF version of the article for 24 hours for the price of $ 32. A truncated version of the article (it is missing six pages) is available via Google Books in the version published in BARNES, John A. (2006), Models and Interpretations : Selected Essays, Cambridge University Press, 1era edn, 1990, pp. 67-87. The article is also reprinted in LEINHARDT, Samuel (1977), Social Networks : A Developing Paradigm, New York, Academic Press.

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