Article written by 2008 DPDF Critical Studies of Science & Technology Policy Fellow Tischa A. Munoz-Erickson and Bethany B. Cutts, featured in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 18:
Research on the influence of social network structure over flows of knowledge in support of sustainability governance and action has recently flourished. These studies highlight three challenges to evaluating knowledge-action networks: first, defining boundaries; second, characterizing power distributions; and third, identifying obstacles to knowledge sharing and connectivity. We present concepts from social network analysis (SNA) commonly found to influence knowledge flows. We examine applications of SNA from across the social sciences and use the case of land governance in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as an illustration of how all three challenges affect knowledge-action networks. SNA is a useful way to understand and overcome many challenges to knowledge flow and thus help improve informational governance strategies for sustainability.