Inderscience Publishers

The social aspects of industrial symbiosis: the application of social network analysis to industrial symbiosis networks

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This paper explores the potential of the application of social network analysis and network theory to the field of Industrial Symbiosis (IS), both as a methodological stance and as a conceptual framework, as a way to approach an understanding of the complexity of IS networks. We argue that the network approach can provide a comprehensive framework for the understanding of the social aspects behind material and energy exchanges. Aspects such as the structure of networks and the exchange and social conditions under which networks are likely to emerge and thrive are examined in the light of this approach. The main concepts of social network analysis and network theory are introduced and its applicability to IS discussed. A methodology is proposed to be applied to research the social and institutional aspects of IS. Some conclusions from the application of the methodology, its potential and shortcomings are presented.

Keywords: social network analysis, industrial symbiosis, network structures, exchange conditions, social mechanisms of control, dyads, nodes, industrial ecology, network theory

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