Complex Networks of Complex Narratives

Complex Networks of Complex Narratives

When: Wednesday, 22 January 2020, 12 pm
Where: DH Active Learning Space, Food Science Building 4.58

Presentations last ~30mins, followed by a short discussion

Complex networks of complex narratives

Dr Pádraig Mac Carron, University of Limerick


In recent years the field of complex networks has been applied to many different disciplines ranging from archaeology to zoology.  Here, we construct the social networks of seven different narratives and use the network analysis to quantitatively compare them. We analyse the network properties of the Old Englishepic Beowulf, the Irish Táin Cuailnge, the Mayan Popol Vuh, Homer’s Iliad, the Icelandic Laxdæla Sagaas well as more recent fantasy narratives, The Lord of the Rings and the first five books of the series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Our analysis shows that a common property of most these networks is their reliance on a core small number of characters skewing the network properties with the exception of Laxdæla Saga. This has properties more similar to that of real-world and modern social networks. This is in part due to it taking place over a longer time period, however, it is the only one with the most interactions involving female characters. 

About the Speaker

Dr Pádraig Mac Carron is an applied mathematician interested in network processes of social systems. He is currently working with DAFINET at the Univerrsity of Limerick. The project is developing a network theory of attitudes based on Dynamic Attitude Fixing in NETworks (DAFINET). It is Ffnded under an ERC starter grant between the University of Limerick and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Pádraig has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and his main research interest is on social networks. His PhD analysed the social networks in ancient narratives such as epics like the Iliad and the Táin Bó Cúailnge. After his PhD, Pádraig did a 3 year postdoc in the University of Oxford working on a large mobile phone dataset and smaller human and non-human primate social networks.