The Privileging of Communitarian Ideas: Citation Practices and the Translation of Social Capital Into Public Health Research Academic Article uri icon


  • The growing use of social science constructs in public health invites reflection on how public health researchers translate, that is, appropriate and reshape, constructs from the social sciences. To assess how 1 recently popular construct has been translated into public health research, we conducted a citation network and content analysis of public health articles on the topic of social capital. The analyses document empirically how public health researchers have privileged communitarian definitions of social capital and marginalized network definitions in their citation practices. Such practices limit the way public health researchers measure social capital's effects on health. The application of social science constructs requires that public health scholars be sensitive to how their own citation habits shape research and knowledge.


publication date

  • August 2005