Institutionalism and the “Citation Core” of Sociology

Kieran Healy posted this fascinating network graph created by Jim Moody.  The graph shows the most cited papers in ASR, AJS ,and Social Forces over the last 10 years.

Kieran’s observations can be found here.  I thought it was interesting in a number of ways.  But, for the purposes here, it was surprised to see that institutional theory is really in there (see my red highlight).  More than I expected.  In fact, it pretty much dominates the “orgs” section in the graph (obviously things would look different if ASQ were included).

Note:  Click on it to see the image directly (at which point you can then click again to magnify it).


Obviously, Meyer & Rowan 1977 and Dimaggio & Powell 1983 are right there.  But there are also several others.  The Meyer, Boli, Ramirez, Thomas article in AJS gets a lot of cites.  So does the Ramirez, Soysal, and Shanahan ASR paper on human rights.  And, the Frank, Hironaka, Schofer ASR paper on global environmentalism is there, too (yay!).

The most-cited pieces are either the classic cites (e.g., Meyer and Rowan, D&P) or main substantive pieces in rapidly expanding research areas (the nation-state, human rights, environment).

Also, interesting to see where the institutional work fits in the overall graph:  Institutionalism is mostly part of the “orgs” cluster, but also close to the movements/political soc group.  Kinda makes sense.

Anyhow, I may add more later… there’s a lot to say about this picture.


2 thoughts on “Institutionalism and the “Citation Core” of Sociology

  1. This is impressive. The thicker lines suggest that articles falling in each “cluster” tend to cite each other, which isn’t surprising. Yet, there is a fair deal of interconnectedness across the map.

    Also interesting to see how far Esping-Anderson is from the institutional core. It is further than almost anything else. Not that it should be closer, necessarily…

  2. Bourdieu looks out of place to me here. It seems like it has to do with the fact that Bourdieu gets co-cited by the culture people (Swidler), the occupational structure/strat people (Blau and Duncan) and the institutionalists.

    Also interesting to not see much of a connection between Bourdieu and the social capital, save for Putnam.

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