ANTHROPOLOGY JOURNALS: Ethnology's Most Cited


Introduction     

This paper will explore how the discipline of anthropology has changed through time by examining a single journal: Ethnology.  This research is part of a larger project in which several journals will be analyzed (Current Anthropology, The Anthropology of Work, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (formerly Man), American Anthropologist and American Ethnologist).  The two sources of data that will be used are the citations within articles in Ethnology (to examine whose work is prominent in the discipline at a given time) and the geographical focus of said articles.  These data should provide information on anthropological “hot spots” and influential anthropologists and social theorists.  It should be noted that Ethnology is a data-driven journal – “Ethnology welcomes articles by scientists of any country on any aspect of cultural anthropology; theoretical or methodological discussions, however, will be published only if they specifically relate to some body of substantive data” (Ethnology 2005).  Therefore, Ethnology may not capture the theoretical zeitgeist as well as some other journals.  In many of the years sampled, the most frequently cited anthropologists were those who worked in geographical areas that the published articles focused on, and not the most popular theorists of the era.

 

Methodology

              This survey examined all issues of Ethnology in the years 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005.  The citation data was downloaded from the Social Sciences Citation Index into the citation management program EndNote, and subsequently examined to determine which authors were the most-cited in a year using two different criteria: the total number of citations each author had and the number of articles an author was cited in.  Both numbers must be examined, as a single author can be cited a many times in one article.  For example, in 1970, Frank Speck was only cited in two articles, yet had eleven total citations.  Therefore, his influence is judged to be less than those who were cited often and in a large number of articles. 

              The data for the geographical analysis were gathered by the author of this paper through a reading of the relevant issues.  I then placed the articles into eleven geographical categories: Polynesia/Pacific Islands, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East (Northern Africa to Iran), the countries of the former USSR, Europe, South Asia (the Indian subcontinent), East Asia, South America, North America, Australia, and a General/Cross-cultural category.

Data and Discussion – 1970

              This survey starts with the year 1970.  In that year, George Murdock and Claude Levi-Strauss were cited most frequently.  They were also the authors cited in the greatest number of articles.  The data from 1970 support two conclusions: first, that George Murdock, the founder of Ethnology, had a great impact on the authors published in the journal; and second, that structuralism, as espoused by Levi-Strauss (and to a lesser extent, Edmund Leach), was one of the dominant theories at the time.  This seems to correlate with what was found in the larger survey – structuralism was very influential in the discipline in 1970.

Table 1.  1970 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  George Murdock                                                               13

2.  Claude Levi-Strauss                                                        11

3.  Frank Speck                                                                     9

4.  Simon Ottenburg                                                               8

5.  Cora DuBois                                                                     6

5.  Edmund Leach                                                                  6

5.  Margaret Mead                                                                 6


 

Table 2.  1970 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  George Murdock                                                       7

2.  Claude Levi-Strauss                                                  6

3.  Edmund Leach                                                          3

4.  Several tied at                                                            2

 

Table 3.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 1970

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  Polynesia/Pacific Islands                                            7

2.  North America                                                          6

3.  General/Cross-cultural                                               5

4.  South America                                                           3

5.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   2

6.  Europe                                                                      1

6.  South Asia                                                                 1

6.  East Asia                                                                   1

 

Data and Discussion – 1975

In Ethnology in 1975, Marshall Sahlins was the most cited anthropologist, by both measures we are using.  It seems that structuralism was again a dominant theoretical interest – however, many papers cited Sahlins’ earlier, non-structuralist work as well.  In addition to Sahlins, George Murdock and Eric Wolf were also influential.  This may indicate the beginning of an increased interest in Marxist and historical approaches at this time.  Fredrik Barth’s work on ethnicity was also influential at this time; this influence extended to 1980. 

Table 4.  1975 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  Marshall Sahlins                                                                 9

2.  Franz Boas                                                                          7

2.  Robert Firth                                                           7

2   John Milton Roberts                                                        7

5.  Eric Wolf                                                                             6

 

Table 5.  1975 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  Marshall Sahlins                                                         6

1.  George Murdock                                                       5

3.  Eric Wolf                                                                   4

4.  Fredrik Barth                                                             3

4.  Abraham Rossman                                                            3

 

Table 6.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 1975

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  North America                                                          8

2.  Polynesia/Pacific Islands                                            4

2.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   4

2.  Europe                                                                      4

5.  South Asia                                                                 3

5.  South America                                                           3

5.  General/Cross-cultural                                               3

 

Data and Discussion – 1980

In Ethnology in 1980, no dominant figure stands out.  George Murdock, Julian Pitt-Rivers and Fredrik Barth are among the most-cited authors.  The geographical focus of the articles published in 1980 also does not show a heavy preponderance towards any single region.  These data point to the transitional aspect of this time in anthropology.  The larger survey supports this conclusion as well, as in 1980 no author was influential across all the surveyed journals.

Table 7.  1980 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  John Hamer                                                               6

1.  George Murdock                                                       6

3.  L.C. Faron                                                                5

3.  Ben Orlove                                                                5

5.  Julian Pitt-Rivers                                                        5

5.  Knud Rasmussen                                                       5


 

Table 8.  1980 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  Julian Pitt-Rivers                                                        4

1.  Fredrik Barth                                                             4

3.  George Murdock                                                       3

3.  Ben Orlove                                                                3

3.  Oscar Lewis                                                              3

 

Table 9.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 1980

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  North America                                                          7

2.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   5

3.  South America                                                           4

4.  Middle East (Northern Africa to Iran)                        3

4.  Europe                                                                      3

4.  General/Cross-cultural                                               3

7.  South Asia                                                                 1

 

Data and Discussion – 1985

In Ethnology in 1985, George Murdock once again shows up as the most cited author.  This can be explained by the large number of cross-cultural articles, most of which cited Murdock.  1985 was also the year that Murdock died, and there was a memorial piece written about him.  Other influential anthropologists in Ethnology in 1985 were Ward Goodenough and Chie Nakane.  Nakane’s presence can be explained by the presence of four articles on Japan and Korea (Nakane was cited in every one of these articles).  The cognitive work of Goodenough was also influential during this period.  However, similar to 1980, no anthropologist (outside of George Murdock) appears to be especially prominent during this period.  The lack of a dominant paradigm also appears in the larger survey.


 

Table 10.  1985 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  Ward Goodenough                                                    9

1.  George Murdock                                                       9

3.  C.H. Brown                                                              7

4.  J.W. Burton                                                               6

4.  E.E. Evans-Pritchard                                                 6

4.  Arthur Rubel                                                              6

 

Table 11.  1985 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  George Murdock                                                       5

2.  Chie Nakane                                                             4

3.  Ester Boserup                                                            3

3.  Ronald Dore                                                              3

3.  Ward Goodenough                                                    3

3.  Jack Goody                                                               3           

 

Table 12.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 1985

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  General/Cross-cultural                                               7

2.  Polynesia/Pacific Islands                                            5

3.  East Asia                                                                   4

4.  North America                                                          3

5.  Europe                                                                      2

6.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   1

6.  South Asia                                                                 1

 

Data and Discussion – 1990

In Ethnology in 1990, Andrew Strathern, Paula Brown and Marshall Sahlins were the dominant figures.  This is due to a year-long examination of issues on Micronesia and Polynesia, with one issue devoted specifically to “Big Men” and “Big Women”.  Given that all three anthropologists have done significant work in Polynesia and Micronesia, it is not surprising that they are the dominant figures for this year.  This is also shown in the geographical focus of articles during this year.

Table 13.  1990 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

1.  Andrew Strathern                                                      28

2.  Paula Brown                                                              22

3.  Marshall Sahlins                                                         13

4.  Rena Lederman                                                         10

4.  Lamont Lindstrom                                                     10

 

Table 14.  1990 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  Marshall Sahlins                                                         9

2.  Andrew Strathern                                                      9

3.  Paula Brown                                                              8

4.  Bronislaw Malinowski                                                6

5.  Rena Lederman                                                         5

 

Table 15.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 1990

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  Polynesia/Pacific Islands                                            11

2.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   3

2.  North America                                                          3

4.  Middle East (Northern Africa to Iran)                        2

4.  General/Cross-cultural                                               2

6.  South Asia                                                                 1

6.  South America                                                           1

 

Data and Discussion – 1995

In Ethnology in 1995, Keesing and Comaroff were among the most influential anthropologists in Ethnology.  As there were two special issues devoted to politics of culture in the Pacific Islands, it is not surprising that Pacific Island specialists were among the most cited authors (e.g., Keesing, Linnekin, and GeWertz).  In the larger survey, the articles that geographical data was collected for also focused on the Pacific Islands.  This could be due to the controversy surrounding Sahlins’ and Obeyesekere’s differing interpretations of the events surrounding Captain Cook’s death in Hawaii.  On the theoretical side, John and Jean Comaroff’s inclusion among the most cited anthropologists shows the influence of their work at this time.  This could indicate the rising interest in work on ethnicity and nationalism in the post-Cold War era.  Another indication of the attention paid to ethnicity and nationalism is relative popularity of Eric Hobsbawm, despite his lack of focus on Polynesia.

Table 16.  1995 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  Geoffrey White                                                          10

2.  Roger Keesing                                                           9

3.  Jocelyn Linnekin                                                        8

4.  Kathleen Adams                                                        7

4.  Barbara Frank                                                           7

 

Table 17.  1995 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  Roger Keesing                                                           7

2.  John and Jean Comaroff                                            5

2.  Deborah GeWertz                                                     5

4.  Eric Hobsbawm                                                         4

4.  Michael French Smith                                                4

4.  Nicholas Thomas                                                       4

4.  Geoffrey White                                                          4

 

Table 18.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 1995

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  Polynesia/Pacific Islands                                            12

2.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   2

2.  East Asia                                                                   2

4.  Middle East (Northern Africa to Iran)                        1

4.  Europe                                                                      1

4.  South Asia                                                                 1

4.  South America                                                           1

4.  North America                                                          1

4.  General/Cross-cultural                                               1

 

Data and Discussion – 2000

In Ethnology in 2000, George Murdock is once again one of the most frequently cited anthropologists.  This can be explained by the large number of cross-cultural articles in the journal this year – five of the six cross-cultural articles cited Murdock.  Murdock is joined at the top of the lists by Arjun Appadurai and Pierre Bourdieu.  Globalization was a large theoretical interest at this time, as evidenced by Appadurai’s importance and the many cross-cultural articles.  Appadurai was also influential in the other journals examined.  Bourdieu’s theory of practice was also influential at this time.    

Table 19.  2000 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  George Murdock                                                       15

1.  John M. Roberts                                                        15

3.  Arjun Appadurai                                                        14

4.  Carol R. Ember                                                         11

4.  Linda C. Garro                                                          11

 

Table 20.  2000 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  Arjun Appadurai                                                        8

2.  George Murdock                                                       6

3.  Pierre Bourdieu                                                         5

3.  Raoul Naroll                                                              5

3.  Lynn Stephen                                                            5

 

Table 21.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 2000

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  North America                                                          6

1.  General/Cross-cultural                                               6

3.  Middle East (Northern Africa to Iran)                        4

4.  Europe                                                                      3

4.  East Asia                                                                   3

6.  Sub-Saharan Africa                                                   1

 

Data and Discussion – 2005

In Ethnology in 2005, no one figure stands out as especially influential.  Only two issues of Ethnology were published in 2005, and the only author to stand out in the citation analysis is Maurice Bloch.  This may indicate a shift toward cognitive anthropology as a focus in the discipline.  However, in the larger survey, Pierre Bourdieu and Arjun Appadurai were still quite influential in 2005, which could indicate that Ethnology simply was not representative of the larger trends in 2005.

Table 22.  2005 most cited authors (total number of citations)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of citations

 

1.  Roger Lohmann                                                         8

2.  Andrew Buckser                                                       6

2.  Richard Sosis                                                            6

4.  Maurice Bloch                                                           4

4.  Faye Harrison                                                            4

4.  William Jankowiak                                                     4

4.  Pamela Stewart                                                         4

4.  Andrew Strathern                                                      4

 

Table 23.  2005 most cited authors (cited in greatest number of articles)

 

Name                                                                                         Number of articles cited in

 

1.  Maurice Bloch                                                           3

2.  Roger Lohmann                                                         2

2.  Pamela Stewart                                                         2

2.  Andrew Strathern                                                      2

5.  Many at                                                                     1


 

Table 24.  Geographical Foci of Articles in 2005

Region                                                                            Number of articles

 

1.  Polynesia/Pacific Islands                                            3

1.  East Asia                                                                   3

3.  Former USSR                                                           1

3.  Europe                                                                      1

3.  South Asia                                                                 1

3.  North America                                                          1

3.  General/Cross-cultural                                               1

 

Conclusions

              Although this survey only examines one journal, and thus cannot be said to wholly represent the discipline of anthropology, there are some significant trends regarding the authors cited in papers published in Ethnology.  The first trend that can be identified is that George Murdock, the founder of the journal, is heavily cited in the journal.  Although Murdock is a major figure in anthropology, the data from the larger survey do not indicate that Murdock had as much influence in the discipline as Ethnology suggests. 

The second trend that can be seen in a citation analysis of Ethnology is the overall theoretical trend within anthropology.  Structuralism was the dominant paradigm in the 1970s.  In the 1980s, there was no dominant paradigm.  The crisis of representation was the major debate in anthropology in the 1980s, and it seems that authors began to split into two camps.  Some authors began to use authority figures from the history of anthropology to justify their work (e.g., in 1985, George Murdock, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, and Ward Goodenough), while other authors only seemed to cite new theorists.  While Ethnology’s data for the 1990s is difficult to generalize from, as the years examined (1990 and 1995) both featured special issues on Polynesia, it seems that the end of the Cold War and the creation of new nations sparked an interest in ethnicity and nations.  Globalization theory also became popular during this time.  These trends continue to the present day.  Two theoretical figures that are largely missing from Ethnology are Michael Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu.  This could be due to the aforementioned geographical focus on the journal in the 1990s, or it could indicate a lack of “high” theory in a data-driven journal.  In the other journals examined, these two figures played a larger role in the 1990s.  However, in terms of broad theoretical interests, Ethnology has followed the general trends of anthropology.

             

Reference:

1.  Ethnology

              2005      Ethnology 44 (1):Front Page.

 

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