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Spatial Arrangement of Social and Economic Networks among Villages in Nang Rong District, Thailand


Faust, Katherine; Entwisle, Barbara; Rindfuss, Ronald R.; Walsh, Stephen J.; & Sawangdee, Yothin (2000). Spatial Arrangement of Social and Economic Networks among Villages in Nang Rong District, Thailand. Social Networks, 21(4), 311-337.


This paper examines the spatial arrangement of social and economic networks among villages in Nang Rong district, Thailand. We use spatial information from a geographic information system (GIS) for the district to help interpret the patterns of movement of agricultural equipment (large tractors) between villages, of people into villages for temporary labor, and of people to village temples and to elementary and secondary schools within the district. Once social networks have been incorporated into the GIS they can be mapped in relation to geographic features of the district, such as topography, landcover, and locations of roads, rivers, and villages. Not only does geographic information about village locations allow us to properly orient the graphs of these networks, but the resulting visual displays reveal strikingly different spatial arrangements for the five networks. Networks of shared temples and elementary schools link small sets of villages in close geographic proximity whereas tractor hiring, labor movement, and secondary school networks bring together larger sets of villages and span longer distances. Information on landcover from satellite digital data provides insights into the patterns of network ties throughout the district and shows a clear relationship between tractor hiring networks and type of agricultural activity in the district. The spatial analytic capabilities of the GIS also allow us to assess the impact of the administratively defined district boundary on our measured relations and to evaluate whether rivers and perennial streams create barriers to network ties between villages.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Networks


Faust, Katherine
Entwisle, Barbara
Rindfuss, Ronald R.
Walsh, Stephen J.
Sawangdee, Yothin