"The critical examination, evaluation, and integration of source literature into academic texts requires skills and knowledge which are often only acquired in the course of a long academic socialization...
[Academic publishing] is sometimes characterized as a conversation, as a mutifaceted, continuous dialogue between individuals, schools of thought and theories. The writing of academic texts therefore cannot be reduced to the transfer of assumptions and research data. It is an important type of social interaction in the scientific community, characterized by the norms, expectations, and relationships among its practioners. An explicit expression of scientific writing as social interaction is found in the way references are made in scientific texts to scientific texts."
You can see this taking place in almost every scholarly article particularly near the beginning of an article when the author presents the prior work on which the new work is built. Authors often use the phrases "literature review" and "review of the literature" to announce what they are doing, or refer to what has been tried in the past. [Note: the "literature" being referred to is prior non-fiction research rather than any fictional works of literature.]
Jakobs, M. Reproductive writing-writing from sources. Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 35, Number 6, June 2003, pp. 893-906(14) doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00124-8
The database Web of Science has a display tool that shows where in their articles researchers use citations -- and where certain citations get used the most. It makes for a very helpful demonstration of how citations get used. WOS labels this "Enriched Cited References" for articles that have this display. It appears in more recent records, and results for a topic search can be filtered to those articles that have the Enriched Cited References feature.
In the full text of the record for an article with Enhanced Cited References, there is a chart towards the bottom of the record that show the distribution of citations for different standard areas of a research article. Hovering over a dot displays the citation being used there.
When you do a topic search that has a number of records as a result, you can also change the Sort by: display to Citation Class to see what articles have been used the most in different standard sections of research articles.