Scholarly Book Reviewing in the Social Sciences and Humanities: The Flow of Ideas within and among Disciplines

Scholarly Book Reviewing in the Social Sciences and Humanities: The Flow of Ideas within and among Disciplines

Scholarly Book Reviewing in the Social Sciences and Humanities: The Flow of Ideas within and among Disciplines

Scholarly Book Reviewing in the Social Sciences and Humanities: The Flow of Ideas within and among Disciplines

Synopsis

This study explores the flow of information within and among academic disciplines in the social sciences and humanities through analyses of the patterns of scholarly book reviewing. An elite sample of scholarly monographs published by university presses between 1971 and 1990 was used.

Beginning with Derek de Solla Price, the measurement of communication within the disciplines of science has been ongoing. In the present book that field of inquiry is summarized and provides a basis for examining the flow of information in the social sciences and humanities.

Excerpt

This study explores the flow of information within and among academic disciplines in the social sciences and humanities through analyses of the patterns of scholarly book reviewing generated by an elite sample of scholarly monographs published by university presses between 1971 and 1990. Thus, the study deals with the communication of information necessary for the advancement of scholarship. I have chosen to study the social sciences and humanities because there appears to be a dearth of studies of the communication patterns in these disciplines, while communication within the natural sciences has been the subject of numerous studies. in fact, it is within the study of the natural sciences that the theoretical underpinnings of the present study lie.

The first two chapters discuss those underpinnings. Chapter 1 presents a survey of the sociology of knowledge and of science. Chapter 2 discusses scholarly communication in science. Derek de Solla Price was among the first to establish the measurability of scientific communication, and after him many others have developed this area of inquiry. Robert Merton, the sociologist of science, also dealt with communication, as did Thomas Kuhn. They both discussed the relationship between communication and social and cognitive events.

The main assumptions of my study may be summarized here. First, I assume that academic disciplines are social constructs. Recent work in this area has shown that the organizational division of knowledge is both historically and socially defined, rather than a reflection of some inherently correct way of categorizing knowledge. in fact, the disciplinary . . .

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