The global citation cluster

I enjoyed Neal Caren’s post on the citation “clusters” of sociology, which follows Kieran Healy’s analysis of philosophy.  Neal took a bunch of articles from 2011 and 2012, and identified references that appeared together.  These form the basis for a cluster analysis.  (Sure, citation measures have all sorts of biases and problems… but it is still fun to look at them!)

One of the clusters is basically cross-national research.  I’ve cut & pasted the list of papers below.  Some off-the-cuff observations:

  • The core theme is cross-national research, but environment has become quite central.  I was a bit surprised.  Maybe it is because both world society and political economy scholars both think of the environment as a big issue.  Early on, Allan Schnaiberg (and others) directly linked environmental sociology to issues of political economy.  And, world society scholars care about the environment because it is a rapidly growing (and arguably unexpected) international regime.  By contrast, other classic world society topics, such as education and human rights, aren’t much on the radar of world system or political economy scholars.  I guess the environment is a bit of common substantive ground.
  • The foundational scholars are pretty much all there:  Wallerstein, Chase-Dunn, etc, and the world society crew, Boli, Meyer, Ramirez, Thomas.  But, with the exception of Wallerstein, the cites are newer work or reviews… for instance, the Meyer et al 1997 AJS and Boli & Thomas 1999, rather than the original 1987 “Institutional Structure.”  Likewise, we see Chase-Dunn and Grimes 1995, rather than the classic Global Formation.  I guess it makes sense.  The later syntheses are shorter and often more accessible.
  • Panel models are the common methodological glue:  Halaby 2004 and Wooldridge 2002.
  • As usual, Art Alderson shows up everywhere, along with his many terrific students and collaborators like David Brady, Jason Beckfield, etc.  Well deserved!
  • I’m visiting Stanford, and will be seeing John Meyer and Chiqui Ramirez later today.  They’ll be happy to hear that their 1997 AJS paper is at the top of the list.  They (along with John B. and George T.) put a ton of work into that paper…
  • It is great to see the next generation of global environmental sociologists showing up (Jorgensen, Clark, etc) along with the classics (York, Rosa, Dietz, Bunker, etc).
  • On a personal note, I’m glad the Schofer/Hironaka 2005 paper made it onto the list.  That paper had a rough time in the review process at several journals before finding a home.  I’ve always liked the paper a lot, so it is heartening that somebody is citing it.  In a nutshell, the paper argues that world society isn’t just a theory of policy diffusion or “myth and ceremony” without substance.  To the contrary, world society matters for the actual environment.


Excerpt from Neal’s post:

Keywords:  World, countries, economic, political, global, cross-national, international, development, levels, environmental

Name Centrality Count Keywords
Meyer J (1997) Am J Sociol 0.19 31 countries, world, models, global, international
Frank D (2000) Am Sociol Rev 0.13 19 world, global, cross-national, economic, organizations
York R (2003) Am Sociol Rev 0.10 18 environmental, environment, theoretical, theory, population
Schofer E (2005) Soc Forces 0.09 15 cross-national, world, countries, international, organizations
Alderson A (1999) Am Sociol Rev 0.09 13 countries, world, investment, inequality, economic
Wooldridge J (2002) Econometric Anal Cro 0.07 22 rates, countries, panel, many, increases
Beckfield J (2003) Am Sociol Rev 0.05 10 countries, organizations, global, international, theories
Kentor J (2003) Am Sociol Rev 0.04 9 countries, cross-national, economic, investment, trade
Bunker S (2005) Globalization Race R 0.04 10 international, environmental, theories, structural, sociology
Gereffi G (1994) Commodity Chains Glo 0.04 7 global, international, trade, economic, globalization
Halaby C (2004) Annu Rev Sociol 0.04 24 panel, economic, changes, longitudinal, period
Chasedunn C (1995) Annu Rev Sociol 0.03 6 trade, world, international, theoretical, labor
Molotch H (1976) Am J Sociol 0.03 12 political, development, economic, theory, urban
Brady D (2007) Stud Comp Int Dev 0.03 8 countries, inequality, development, global, modernization
Schrank A (2004) Soc Forces 0.03 5 world, economic, particular, trade, specifically
Beck T (2001) World Bank Econ Rev 0.02 7 countries, rights, abuse, human, often
Dietz T (2007) Front Ecol Environ 0.02 8 environmental, environment, global, theories, theory
Alderson A (2002) Am J Sociol 0.02 14 inequality, income, policy, countries, economic
Alderson A (2004) Am J Sociol 0.02 6 economic, global, world, countries, network
Wallerstein I (1974) Modern World System 0.02 11 global, sociological, overall, countries, empirical
Boli J (1999) Constructing World C 0.02 12 world, organizations, global, models, society
Clark B (2005) Theor Soc 0.02 8 environmental, ecological, understanding, theory, political
Jorgenson A (2009) Soc Probl 0.02 9 environmental, cross-national, environment, nations, emissions
Bair J (2001) World Dev 0.02 4 where, political, global, promote, labor
Schofer E (2005) Am Sociol Rev 0.02 12 countries, international, models, organizations, cross-national

Environmentalism in Textbooks

Tricia Bromley sent me another terrific paper, written with John Meyer and Chiqui Ramirez, coming out of the increasingly-prolific comparative project on textbooks.

The paper shows vividly how environmentalism is increasingly brought into the school curriculum… and that the trend is part of a broader “package” of world society themes in education, which they call “post-national” curricular emphases — such as a focus on human rights or international issues generally.

Piece by piece, this project is building the case that school systems increasingly serve as repositories of a common global culture.  And, given the obvious role of schools in transmitting knowledge and culture, the implications are seismic.  Whereas many treat educational enrollment measures as an indicator of human capital, I see an indicator of the worldwide penetration of global culture (or in David Frank’s terms, an incredibly important “receptor site” that imports and transmits global culture).

Definitely worth reading.  Here’s the paper:

Bromley Meyer Ramirez Environmentalism in Textbooks 6.2010.pdf

This is the “short” version.   They have a longer version with extensive appendices that show many more examples from various textbooks.  The extra examples are terrific and really give a sense of the many ways that the environment shows up in the curriculum… from old-school maps of a country’s climate zones or mineral resources (something I remember from my childhood) to more “contemporary” discussions of global warming, etc.  A more systematic treatment of that, alone, could make another great paper.  The long version is quite a download (60+ megabytes)… Here is a link.

Finally Out!

Before hopping on a plane to ASA, Wes sent me the news that our paper on environmental associations is finally out!

American Sociological Review, August 2010:  Table of Contents and Abstracts

I’m especially happy for Wes, who worked really hard on this one…  and who will be on the job market at some point and will hopefully benefit directly from it.  Also, the paper had a complex/convoluted history — and so I’m really happy that it made it through the review process.  Many thanks to the current and former ASR Editors — especially Vinnie Roscigno, who went “above and beyond the call” to help us improve the paper and get it into print.

A pre-publication version is available here:  Longhofer Schofer ASR Environmental Associations 9.24.09.pdf

I hope everyone is having fun in Atlanta!  I’m skipping ASA this year…  I’ll have to wait for next year in Chicago to partake in the frenzy.

World Society, World-Systems Theory and Pesticides

Kristen Shorette (a PhD student at UCI) and Ann Hironaka have a new paper looking at a another dimension of environmental degradation:  agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Kristen has spent a fair bit of time thinking about world-system theory, and has brought that to the collaboration.  Their paper joins people like Andrew Jorgenson (at Utah), who are examining both world-system and world society effects on environmental degradation.

Here’s one of their tables of results: Shorette Hironaka Pesticides Table 7.15.10.pdf

As we’ve seen in prior work, global institutions and organizations (e.g., treaties, INGOs) are associated with lower levels of degradation.  But, the effect of world society is less strong in the semi-periphery.  (See the positive interaction in Model 8… which shows that the generally negative effect of world society is a attenuated for the semi-periphery.)

I’ve  been talking with Ann about it.  One option is to tell a loose coupling story.  A variety of factors undermine the link between international pro-environmental institutions and concrete outcomes — such as lack of domestic resources.  Very poor countries often aren’t up to the task of implementing treaties, for instance.

The pressures generated by world-system dynamics may be one more source decoupling that attenuates world society effects.  Though it is interesting to note that the interaction doesn’t actually indicate a positive effect of world society on pesticide use.  The large negative main effect (which corresponds to the reference group) combined with the smaller positive interaction (for the semi-periphery) still yields a negative coefficient — indicating a negative effect of world society on pesticide use in the semi-periphery.

New Environment Treaty Data

Tricia just posted some new environmental treaty data from UNEP, in STATA format.  It doesn’t cover as many treaties as David Frank’s dataset, but it covers 12 important ones and is updated through 2009.   Here’s her description:

Time Series from 1960-2009

Data Downloaded from the UNEP GEO Data Portal at:

For treaties, includes all 12 treaties listed on the UNEP GEO data portal, except the UN Framework.  Treaty data is listed as missing “.” for years before the treaty existed, coded as “0” before a country joined, and “1” for all years after joining.  Variable name is official treaty name, original source and years of treaty in dataset.

More Environment Data

I met a prospective grad student who worked at the Environmental Footprint Network.  Turns out they have some new kinds of environment data… scoring countries based on consumption relative to biocapacity:

There are a few surprises… for instance, North Africa looks worse than I would’ve expected.  I guess they don’t have a lot of biocapacity.  I’m not sure country is the best unit of analysis for this type of measure — at least for my purposes.  For instance, Alaska’s score would change a lot if it were part of Canada, rather than part of the US.  But, it is still interesting.