This week marks the end of the eighth year of Understanding Society. This year passed the 1000 mark — the blog is now up to 1,029 posts, or well over one million words. The blog continues to be a very good venue for me for developing and sharing ideas about the foundations of the social sciences and the ways that we attempt to understand the social world. (Mark Carrigan captures a lot of the value that a blog can have for a scholar in his recent excellent book, Social Media for Academics. Thanks, Mark, for including Understanding Society in your thinking about academic uses of social media!)
Writing Understanding Society continues to stimulate me to read and think outside the confines of the specific tradition in which I work. The collage presented above represents just a few of the books I wouldn’t have read in the past year if it weren’t for the blog. It gives me a lot of pleasure to recall the new ideas learned from working through these books and capturing a few ideas for the blog. There is a lot of diversity of content across these many books, but there are surprising cross-connections as well. (If you want to see the post where one of these books is discussed, just search for the author in the search box above.)
There are some common themes among the hundred or so posts in the past twelve months —
- a focus on causal mechanisms and powers;
- attention to the theory of critical realism;
- a continuing interest in China’s recent history;
- an interest in better understanding the dynamics of race in the US;
- an interest in the mechanisms of social change at the micro-level;
- an interest in the ways in which knowledge and values play causal roles in society.
I don’t have an exact measure, but my impression is that the past year has witnessed a higher number of posts on topics in the philosophy of social science as such, with fewer on more contemporary topics.
I am very grateful to the many readers worldwide who find topics of interest in Understanding Society. Google Analytics reports 72,051 page views of the blog in the past month, and 718,000 page views for the past twelve months. Here is the global distribution of visitors from the month of October; it is evident that there is a fairly wide distribution of readership around the world.
Thank you for visiting, reading, and discussing!