Social Networks: An Introduction. Special Compilation from the Annual Review of Sociology

Pescosolido, B.A.
Sporns, O.
Annual Review of Sociology

In 1932 the Annual Review Series was created to provide critical reviews by leading scientists “to provide the worldwide scientific community with a useful and intelligent synthesis of the primary research literature for a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines” ( While the series currently includes 50 separate disciplines or research areas, it also represents a living record of the evolution of scientific attention to disciplines and research topics. Of course, the development of the Annual Reviews titles is not a pristine representation of the history of the scientific landscape. As social scientists have long documented, other factors in the production of science and culture have to be considered to explain, for example, the late entrance of economics in 2008, or the brief appearance of computer science between 1986 and 1990. Yet, among the initial series were the natural and physical sciences, with The Annual Review of Biochemistry beginning in 1932 and The Annual Review of Physiology in 1939, and among the latest, starting in 2015, are Annual Review of Vision Science and Virology. Not surprisingly, after World War II, the entrance of many other sciences (e.g., Annual Review of Medicine, 1950; Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science, 1953) followed the infusion of significant resources from the federal government. Similarly, while the first social science to be included was Annual Review of Psychology in 1950, the establishment of the Annual Review of Anthropology and the Annual Review of Sociology followed the post-WWII growth of those disciplines.