Our paper “Co-Citation of Prominent Social Network Articles: The Evolving Can” was published by Connections in their current issue. You can download a copy from my publications page at Maxwell.
Social network analysis has been a particularly hot area across the social (and some non-social) sciences. How has this growth, in turn, affected the field of social network analysis within sociology, the discipline which has served as the primary home of social network analysis over the last several decades? In order to answer this question, we examined the citation patterns of the social network papers in the two leading general sociology journals, the American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology, from 1990-2005, focusing on the body of literature that was cited by at least two social network papers in a given year. We produced two network snapshots of the social network canon during this period. These analyses reveal a combination of great change and substantial continuity. There was a substantial increase in interest in social networks in sociology throughout this period, and, in particular, an enormous rise in interest in small world issues, coupled with the abrupt entry of mathematicians and physicists into the sociology social network canon. However, during this entire period Granovetter’s work remained squarely at the center of the canon, with Granovetter (1973) as the most cited piece at both the earlier and later snapshots.