Sociologist receives award in part for one article being cited over 24,000 times

Mark Granovetter’s 1973 article “The Strength of Weak Ties” is a sociological classic and still is cited frequently in top sociology journals (see 2012 data here). This impressive number of citations contributed to the naming of Granovetter as the recipient of an award:

Cited over 24,000 times, Granovetter’s 1973 paper “The Strength of Weak Ties” is a social science classic and a milestone in network theory. Our close friends are strongly in touch with us and each other, he wrote, but our acquaintances – weak ties – are crucial bridges to other densely knit clumps of close friends. The more weak ties we have, the more in touch we are with ideas, fashions, job openings and whatever else is going on in diverse and far-flung communities.

The award honors the late Everett M. Rogers, a former associate dean at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and an influential communication scholar whose Diffusion of Innovation is the second-most cited book in the social sciences.  Presented since 2007 on behalf of USC Annenberg by its Norman Lear Center, the award recognizes outstanding scholars and practitioners whose work has contributed path-breaking insights in areas of Rogers’s legacy.

At the USC Annenberg School on Wednesday, September 18 at 12 noon, Granovetter will present “The Strength of Weak Ties” Revisited.  He will discuss how he came to write it; where it fits in the history of social network analysis; how its argument has held up over the years; and its significance in recent social revolutions, where it’s often been claimed that social networks are at the core of the new political developments.  The event is free and open to the public but RSVP is required. (RSVP is available online at: http://bit.ly/189ayDM)

There is no doubt that being cited over 24,000 times is impressive. Granovetter’s work has been utilized in multiple disciplines and came at the forefront of an explosion of research on social networks and their effects.
At the same time, the press release makes a big deal about citations twice while also highlighting Granovetter’s specific findings. Which is more important in the world of science today: the number of citations, which is a measure of importance, or about the actual findings and how it pushed science forward? This award can contribute to existing debates about the importance of citations as a measure. What exactly do they tell us and should we recognize those who are cited the most?

0 thoughts on “Sociologist receives award in part for one article being cited over 24,000 times

  1. Pingback: Most cited works in sociology journals in 2013 | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: Analysis suggests a sociologist in the running to win 2014 Nobel Prize for Economics | Legally Sociable

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