Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Sociology

Careers in Print: Canadian Sociological Books and Their Wider Impact, 1975-1992 [1]

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Sociology

Careers in Print: Canadian Sociological Books and Their Wider Impact, 1975-1992 [1]

Article excerpt

Abstract: This paper examines the most cited books in Canadian sociology published between 1975 and 1987 as measured by the Social Science Citation Index. It contrasts books which received twenty or more citations over a five-year period from all sources (thirty-one books in all) with how many citations these books had received in the two core Canadian anglophone sociology journals. The latter list at its upper levels was mainly oriented to feminist sociology and political economy (stratification and regionalism). The overall list was broader in its coverage of topics and the paper advances possible explanations for the difference between the two lists.

Finally, the paper examines the one socio-demographic factor of sex to see whether women published highly visible books below, at or above their numbers in the sociological population. In fact women were more likely to publish (highly cited) books compared to articles in core journals. The reason is related to book publishing's receptivity to qualitative methodology.

Resume: Cette etude porte sur les livres les plus cites entre 1975 et 1987 en sociologic canadienne selon le [much less than] Social Science Citation Index [much greater than] Une comparaison est faite entre les livres qui ont recu vingt ou plus citations sur une periode de cinq ans et toute autrc source (trente et un livres en tout) avec le nombre de citations que ces livres ont recues dans les deux revues anglophones principales. La liste de cc demier etait axee sur Ia sociologic feministe at l'economie politiquc (la stratification et le regionalisme). La liste complete etait plus elargit en cc qui conceme les sujets et cette etude avance quelques explications de la difference entre las deux listes. Finalement, cettc etude examine le facteur socio-demographique de sexe pour determiner si les famines ont publie moins, autant, ou plus de livres avec un nombre important de citations. Il s' avere que les femmes etaient plus portees publier des livres tres cites que des articles dans les revues principales. C'e st probablement cause du fait que les maisons d'edition sont plus receptives a la methodologie qualitative.


The end of a century and a millennium and the beginning of another is a good time to take stock in any number of fields, sociology no less than others. The Legacy For a New Millennium project attempted to look for indicators of what sociological work in the last millennium was most important. This Canadian project was paralleled by a number of others in the United States, Britain, Scandinavia and elsewhere. Perhaps most germane to this article was the book edited by Dan Clawson (1998) in which subjective indicators were challenged by Gerald Marwell (1998) who argued that there indeed were objective measures available and he proposed the use of the Social Science Citation Index. This article has built on the lead provided by Marwell in the context of anglophone Canadian sociology. It attempts to measure the impact of Canadian sociological books first published in the period 1975-87. This period is one of particular importance and interest as it covers what might be considered the first truly mature period of C anadian sociology as measured by numbers of publishing sociologists and other indicators. I hope to update it with a later article which will measure the impact of Canadian sociological books from 1988 on. The means to measure this impact will be the Social Science Citation Index which counts the impact of books (and, of course, journals) as measured by citation counts in journals. It is published by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).

A few caveats and explanations may be in order to make this article clearer. Only first editions have been counted. Thus books which appeared earlier than 1975 but were reprinted in later editions between 1975-87 were not counted (such as Gwynn Nettler's popular text Explaining Crime.) Books produced by Canadian-resident anglophone sociologists were counted. …

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