sociology’s citation core

My colleague Jim Moody sent along this interesting graph. He took all papers cited by an ASR, AJS, or Social Forces publication since 1999. He then mapped the top 50 such citations (actually 53, because there were some ties) as a citation and co-citation network. Here’s the result.

Some quick observations. First, reading anti-clockwise from the right, it looks like the core of the field is Stratification, Networks, Organizations, Social Movements — and HLM methods. Second, despite Sociology’s alleged inability to forget its founders, only one piece of work in the Top 50 citations was published before 1965, and that’s Weber (1922). Third, it’s great that the visualization shows Swidler (1986) and Sewell (1992) right where they belong — trying to bridge structure (on the right) with agency (on the left).

Written by Kieran

August 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Posted in sociology

18 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Holy awesome batman.


    Sean Safford

    August 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm

  2. It’s interesting that HLM methods show up so prominently. Is the method a stand-in for soc of education?



    August 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  3. i think it’s interesting that the core forms a ring that is basically:
    social movements orgs networks social capital neighborhoods strat/HLM back to social movements

    this implies the counterfactual of why isn’t there more direct affinity between, say, orgs and strat, only a shared interest in networks and social movements? i would say that there’s an obvious brokerage opportunity here but a lot of people (eg the Bielbys) /have/ tried to connect orgs and strat, apparently without much success.



    August 14, 2009 at 8:05 pm

  4. Do I understand, though, that this is all citations in those journals; not just economic sociology or organizations, right? If so, “we” form much more of the core of the field than I would have expected.


    Sean Safford

    August 14, 2009 at 8:20 pm

  5. Kieran (and Jim):Thanks for sharing this picture. It’s great!

    Sean: One path to influence is to create an easily transportable idea. Org theorists have done pretty well: isomorphism, ecology, fields, etc. Movements is another: framing.

    My shock: where is social psych? I only see Blumer ’57.



    August 14, 2009 at 8:29 pm

  6. Admittedly I don’t recognize all these works solely by author and year, but it looks like gender only has one of the 50 cites. If memory serves, there’s also strikingly little in the way of family or “narrow” demography that I recognize (I’m not a demographer and could be missing things). In the case of demography focused on fertility etc., could this low citation level be because works are more time-sensitive and become out of date faster – or just because demographers publish more n their own journals? And could the lack of citations to really old theoretical stuff be largely because people simply pick different years/works to cite? (If I’m citing one of Marx or Weber’s famous papers, there’s probably a dizen diferent ways/years/editions I could cite the same piece, all correct). Anyway, neat graphic.



    August 14, 2009 at 8:34 pm

  7. Sean and Fabio – Another interpretation is that although orgs and economic sociologists are a fairly low proportion of the entire ASA, they work in high status areas of study and therefore are more central to the overall field than you would expect.



    August 14, 2009 at 8:51 pm

  8. Wow, well done! Would be really interesting to see that graph evolve over time, e.g. top 50 each year.



    August 14, 2009 at 9:37 pm

  9. It’s interesting that social exchange shows up in the networks cluster of cites. I suspect that if you generated the same type of graph in the OB journals (AMR, AMJ, ASQ, OS, JAP, etc.), you’d find social exchange would have greater betweenness centrality.


    Lukas Neville

    August 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm

  10. Does this sort of analysis take into account time since publication and/or “size” of subfields (i.e., are there just a lot more papers and books in some areas than others?)? If not, would controlling for these change the picture?



    August 15, 2009 at 6:24 pm

  11. @Erich-

    And use Sonia to make a movie of the top 50 over time!



    August 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm

  12. […] Rather than throwing paper after paper at ASA, AJS, and Social Forces to see if one will stick, however, faculty members may increase the likelihood of being published in one of these journals by tying their work to previous research that has been valued by those who publish in these venues.  If you find yourself in this position, you may want to frame your work in a way that connects to one or more of the following: stratification, networks, organizations, social movements, and HLM methods.  Here is a map of the citation network for ASR, AJS, and Social Forces over the past ten years, via Orgtheory: […]


  13. @Jordi – sonia looks good. I’ve never used it before, but I expect to change that. Thanks for the pointer!



    August 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm

  14. […] proposée est “classique” en sociologie des réseaux. On pouvait voir sur OrgTheory récemment une représentation similaire des 53 textes les plus cités récemment dans les trois […]


  15. […] observations can be found here.  I thought it was interesting in a number of ways.  But, for the purposes here, it was surprised […]


  16. shouldnt Candace West’s “doing gender” 1987 in the right bottom refer to Don Zimmermann too? or is meant a different paper here?



    September 7, 2009 at 8:21 am

  17. […] I produced my network, I discovered that my technique was quite similar to Jim Moody’s 2009 graph of the […]


  18. Brayden: I think the prominence of HLM cites is due to the prominence of neighborhood effects research and not a stand in for sociology of education. Two of Rob Sampson’s four nodes were co-authored with Steve Raudenbush for example and I think the method is standard in quantitative urban work at this point.



    October 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Comments are closed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,970 other followers

%d bloggers like this: