The Concept of Semantic Value in Social Network Analysis: an Application to Comparative Mythology

by   Javier Fumanal-Idocin, et al.

Human sciences have traditionally relied on human reasoning and intelligence to infer knowledge from a wide range of sources, such as oral and written narrations, reports, and traditions. Here we develop an extension of classical social network analysis approaches to incorporate the concept of meaning in each actor, as a mean to quantify and infer further knowledge from the original source of the network. This extension is based on a new affinity function, the semantic affinity, that establishes fuzzy-like relationships between the different actors in the network, using combinations of affinity functions. We also propose a new heuristic algorithm based on the shortest capacity problem to compute this affinity function. We use these concept of meaning and semantic affinity to analyze and compare the gods and heroes from three different classical mythologies: Greek, Celtic and Nordic. We study the relationships of each individual mythology and those of common structure that is formed when we fuse the three of them. We show a strong connection between the Celtic and Nordic gods and that Greeks put more emphasis on heroic characters rather than deities. Our approach provides a technique to highlight and quantify important relationships in the original domain of the network not deducible from its structural properties.


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