Joe Watson


Uncovering the Structure of Underground Punk Music Networks in the UK using Statistical Models.

PhD summary

Research about music communities is often ethnographic and purely qualitative. This research project takes the lead of Nick Crossley in using Howard Becker’s concept of ‘Art Worlds’ and applying it in a music-focused context using the formal quantitative tools of social network analysis. This approach will be extended further to include the use of statistical models in order to analyse the structure of the underground punk music world in the North West of England.

This research uses secondary social media data collected from Facebook events as well as primary data collected via face-to-face questionnaires. In order to construct a three-mode network of punk musicians, bands and the venues that they perform at. Using Exponential Random Graph Models, the data will be analysed to reveal patterns of connections across the three different types of nodes; musicians, bands and venues; and posit why these patterns might exist and how we explain them in a wider music worlds context.

Analysing social network data in a three-mode context is underexplored. In addition to making a substantive contribution to the literature on music worlds, the project provides a method for analysing data in this way. As well as testing whether additional information can be gained through these types of analyses versus established methods.


April 2015 – April 2018


ESRC NWDTC AQM +3 Studentship


Before his PhD, Joe completed a Master’s degree in Social Research Methods and Statistics and a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies at The University of Manchester. He is an active member of the internationally recognised Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis and has presented his research at the Sunbelt International Conference for Social Network Analysis. In his spare time, Joe plays the guitar and sings in the punk rock band Hummer and is a volunteer for Manchester District Music Archive.


  • Johan Koskinen
  • Nick Crossley

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