Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: A Reflexive Citation Analysis or Science Disciplines and Disciplining Science

Diana Hicks, Jonathan Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


This paper takes the form of a double text which simultaneously investigates the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) through citation analysis, and investigates citation analysis using theoretical ideas from SSK and Foucault. One strand of the text performs an analysis of citation patterns in SSK. This text identifies the figures who have had the most impact through their articles and books, and examines the possible effects of cultural and linguistic bias. It also investigates the impact of SSK outside the field, asks whether this impact has changed over time, and identifies researchers who have had a particularly high impact outside SSK. The other strand takes citation analysis, as exemplified in the citation study of SSK, as its topic. This text focuses on the way the citation analysis constitutes its field of study, and on the way a citation is produced as a separable, countable category. It notes the 'realistic' idea of science categories which is deployed, and the individualistic model of scientific activity. It questions the involvement of citation analysis with power, both in the traditional sense of institutional control of science through funding changes, and in the Foucaldian sense of scientists adopting citation counting as a regime of self-regulation. The paper ends with a dialogue between the 'authors' on/in these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-501
Number of pages43
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • General Social Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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