Data for Thought: RCG and MWD

What do you do when you wake up early on a Friday morning? I like to poke around on JStor’s fabulous Data For Research. This site lets you ask questions like, what is the first use of the word “macroeconomics” in an economics journal archived in JStor? 1946. How about intersectionality in Sociology? 1994, though it shows up in Law Reviews in 1989.

Or, if you’re feeling like a bit of early AM combinatorics, you can ask, how often do the big trinities get listed in the usual ordering vs. any other ordering? By “big trinities”, I am referring of course to “race, class, and gender” and “Marx, Weber, and Durkheim”, usually (at least in my experience) listed in that order. But how dominant is that ordering? To the data! Note, all searches are on the entire corpus of Sociology, which includes oodles of things like book reviews and other not-just-articles. Also note, I tried the searches without the “and” (i.e. “race, class, gender” or “Marx, Weber, Durkheim”). The results were different (mostly fewer hits), but had the same pattern.

Counts in All Sociology Journals
“race class and gender” = 1078
“race gender and class” = 329
“gender race and class” = 461
“gender class and race” = 229
“class race and gender” = 415
“class gender and race” = 195

So, at first glance, we confirm that the ordering “race, class and gender” is much more common than any of the other 6 possibilities. Neat. But perhaps what’s more interesting is to compare all of these 6 patterns to other trigrams with a slightly different set of marginalized identities. I just picked out two for comparison:
“race gender and sexuality” = 57
“race class and nationality” = 13
Like it or not, race, class and gender are our go-to divisions. A full analysis might reveal more interesting variation – and could also track patterns of usage over time (though with all of the options above, the 1990s seem a big boom, so I’m not sure there is too much to learn).

How about classical theory?

Counts in All Sociology Journals
“Marx Weber and Durkheim” = 182
“Marx Durkheim and Weber” = 145
“Weber Durkheim and Marx” = 23
“Weber Marx and Durkheim” = 11
“Durkheim Weber and Marx” = 38
“Durkheim Marx and Weber” = 48

What interests me here is that the first two orderings – MWD and MDW – have nearly the same number of hits. Given that Weber and Durkheim were contemporaries, and that Marx and Weber are both German, I was somewhat surprised that the alternative “Marx Durkheim and Weber” was quite so popular. Perhaps it’s a consequence of a book on social theory of the same title existing. Of course, Giddens also uses that order in the subtitle of his famous Capitalism and Modern Social Theory. So maybe it’s not just an outlier, but we should really admit two possible orderings of this particular trio.

As for some comparisons, the results are not pretty:
“Marx Weber and Simmel” = 9
“Weber Simmel and Durkheim” = 17
“Weber Durkheim and DuBois” = 0

Simmel’s got some play, but I doubt anything will match the Big 3.

Alright, so what can we learn from all of this? Primarily, that I clearly need something more productive to do when I wake up early on a Friday! Beyond that, it’s up to you. Also, JStor is wonderful.

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