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Citation analysis on the micro level: The example of Walter Benjamin's Illuminations



One can go even further and remember that interruption is one of the fundamental devices of all structuring. It goes far beyond the sphere of art. To give only one example, it is the basis of quotation. To quote a text involves the interruption of its context.1 Walter Benjamin (1968/2007, p. 151).

This article employs citation analysis on a micro level—the level of the cited document; in this case, Walter Benjamin's Illuminations (1968/2007). The study shows how this frequently cited publication—more than 4,000 citations in Web of Science—has been received. The growth of citations and interdisciplinary citing is studied, and a novel approach—page citation analysis—is applied to study how different parts of Illuminations have been cited. The article demonstrates how bibliometric methods can be used together with qualitative accounts to map the impact and dissemination of a particular publication. Furthermore, it shows how bibliometric methods can be utilized to study intellectual structures in the humanities, and highlights the influence of the humanities on the social sciences and sciences.