Using Lord of the Flies to Teach Social Networks


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Journal of Social Structure

International Network for Social Network Analysis

Subject: Social Sciences


eISSN: 1529-1227





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VOLUME 16 , ISSUE 1 (December 2015) > List of articles

Using Lord of the Flies to Teach Social Networks

Jimi Adams

Citation Information : Journal of Social Structure. Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 1-21, DOI:

License : (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Published Online: 13-August-2019



Lord of the Flies is commonly assigned reading for high school and college students. The novel about shipwrecked boys is often analyzed thematically to examine how the boys’ perceived isolation on the island effects their attitudes and behavior. However, what is similarly apparent is that the society they develop while on the island establishes certain patterns, and is governed by collective rules (some more explicit than others). Here I demonstrate how those behavioral patterns and norms are useful for interpreting the concepts and analytic tools found in social network literature. I describe how I used the novel as a “capstone” project in four sections of an undergraduate Social Networks course. This demonstrates how students’ readings of the text revealed several common families of social network measures leveraged in the book’s plot.


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