Following the Footnotes : A Bibliometric Analysis of Citation Patterns in Literary Studies

Sammanfattning: This thesis provides an in-depth study of the possibilities of applying bibliometric methods to the research field of literary studies. The four articles that constitute the backbone of this thesis focus on different aspects of references and citations in literary studies: from the use of references in the text to citation patterns among 34 literature journals. The analysis covers both an Anglo-Saxon context as well as research in Swedish literary studies, and the materials used include Web of Science data, references in the Swedish literature journal TFL (Tidskrift för Litteraturvetenskap) and applications to the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). A study is also made of the influence of one single publication—Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations—and its impact in literary studies and in wider academia.The results from the four articles are elaborated upon using a theoretical framework that focuses on differences in the social and intellectual organization of research fields. According to these theories literary studies can be described as a fragmented, heterogenic, interdisciplinary and ‘rural’ field with a diverse audience. The fragmented and rural organization of the field is reflected in low citation frequencies as well as in the difficulties in discerning research specialities in co-citation mappings, while the analysis of the intellectual base (highly cited authors) is an example of the heterogenic and interdisciplinary character of the field, as it includes authors from many fields across the humanities and the social sciences.The thesis emphasizes that bibliometric studies of research fields in the humanities need to incorporate non-English and non-journal publications in order to produce valid and fair results. Moreover, bibliometric methods must be modified in accordance with the organization of research in a particular field, and differences in referencing practices and citation patterns ought to be considered. Consequently, it is advised that bibliometric measures for evaluating research in these fields should, if used at all, be applied with great caution.