Thursday 29th September 2005
It all started with Jeannine’s remark that “it would be interesting to flow-chart [Sam’s] office politics/friendships to see who liked whom, who stuck up for whom, etc…”
Now, several weeks later, we are finally in a position to present our “sociogram”. The purpose of this graph is to visualise Sam’s network of professionally important relationships. In order to qualify, each of the indiviuals represented in this diagram has to be (a) in direct personal contact with at least one of the others (on speaking terms), and (b) significant in terms of the interactive decision making process — in short what sociologists describe as “significant others”.
Any two people in the graph who have such a relationship are connected by a line. (When such a line is not there, that doesn’t necessarily imply that no such connection existed. It simply means that we have no information about it.)
A blue line stands for a “good” relationship (confidence, trust), and a red line for a “bad” relationship (lack of confidence, mistrust). Particularly intense relationships are drawn in heavier lines, either “good” (friendship, or bordering on friendship) or “bad” (anywhere from profound dislike to outright hatred).
A sociogram like this can be very instructive. It indicates the most likeky “path of least resistance” that may be followed to “lobby” one of the people in the graph. It also shows who is vital to the network — those who have a large number of lines connecting them to the others. It is evident from the diagram that our Sam is one of them, which in real life is rightfully reflected in his rising status.
The information on which this diagram is based, doesn’t come from the diary alone — many other sources were also consulted. Jeannine provided a lot of this extra information, and Terry F and Australian Susan also did their share. The graph was constructed by myself, on the basis of these inputs, with the help of the freeware program KrackPlot 3.3 — and some inspired tinkering with several drawing programs.
Suffice it to say that the sociogram as it stands represents a snapshot of the professional network connections around the person of Samuel Pepys as per August 1662, in as far as we were able to reconstruct it with at least an acceptable degree of likelihood — not absolute certainty: sometimes there’s very little to go on, and our interpretation of the few known facts may not be the only one possible!
Still, we think that we have provided a useful instrument for the dedicated annotator, who sometimes may get lost among the many people who seem to play a more or less important role in Sam’s professional life. We may even decide to repeat this exercise at (ir)regular intervals, when we find that Sam’s “social chart” has changed significantly.