What relational event models can reveal: Commentary on Thomas Grund’s “Dynamics of Denunciation: The Limits of a Scandal”
Media and Technology Studies, University of Alberta, T6G 2R3, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Accepted: 30 November 2023
Published online: 11 January 2024
This article provides a commentary on Thomas Grund’s International Conference on Computational Social Science 2021 keynote “Dynamics of Denunciation: The Limits of a Scandal”. The keynote presents results from research investigating the relational dynamics underpinning the denunciations provided in testimonies relating to a Canadian political scandal. Grund uses relational event models to test hypotheses about the social mechanisms driving the denunciations. Although denunciation should depend only on who is guilty and not on who has said what up to that point, Grund’s study finds evidence in support of a number of relational mechanisms influencing the denunciation process. Grund argues that the apparent influence of past denunciations on testimonies reveals the limits of the inquiry process itself and what it can reveal about a scandal. This article reviews Grund’s talk and puts the work in a broader context of using approaches rooted in event history modelling and social network theory to illuminate the processes defining social interaction data. It highlights ways in which the keynote can inform the development of computational social science approaches to analysing such data, and argues that the value of such an analysis has implications for scholarship beyond the social sciences.
Key words: Social networks / Relational events / Event history models / Relational dynamics / Political scandal
© The Author(s) 2023
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