Since most of us love lists — or at least love and hate them simultaneously — here is the updated version of the “Top humanities theorists of the last century” list.
See the previous version for the full criteria and the caveats. Briefly: it’s a list of the most cited humanities theorists of the last 100 years (roughly) according to their Google Scholar citation numbers.
Since the “citations” (“cited by”) number is more accurate than the “results” (search results) number, I’m listing it where it is available and using that number as the actual number, even though it skews the results. (It does this dramatically in the case of Max Weber, who would win if I did not do this. As the note below indicates, I believe the first figure is more inaccurate for him than for most. I may, of course, be wrong, in which case I could be accused of harboring Foucauldian sympathies. I’ll take that accusation in stride.) The citations number, where listed, is always the second number, following the slash (“/”).
Where there are clear discrepancies or reasons to be particularly skeptical about the results, I’m listing these in the asterisked notes below. Also, in this version, I’ve clicked off the “include patents” check box when doing the search.
Congratulations, by the way, to Scu of Critical Animal for naming the highest number of theorists to the list who weren’t yet on it. (He named four, if we include Stuart Hall who has made it to the last position in this expanded list of 30 names.)
For comparison’s sake, Karl Marx, were he allowed on the list, would have gotten 587,000 results (and 26,171 for Capital alone), Immanuel Kant – 176,000, Martin Luther King – 147,000, and T.S. Eliot – 98,900.
- Michel Foucault 398,000/452,985 (Discipline and Punish, 41,211; History of Sexuality Vol. 2, 27,020)
- Pierre Bourdieu 183,000/343,147 (Distinction 30,991; Outline of a Theory of Practice, 25,700)
- *Max Weber 437,000/156,882
- Sigmund Freud 295,000
- John Dewey 155,000
- Jacques Derrida 132,000
- *Walter Benjamin 124,000
- Hannah Arendt 123,000
- Clifford Geertz 52,800/109,210 (Interpretation of Cultures 32,782)
- Roland Barthes 103,000
- John Rawls 83,700/101,118 (A Theory of Justice 48,891)
- Martin Heidegger 85,200
- Jean Piaget 83,100
- Bertrand Russell 77,800
- Jean-Paul Sartre 76,000
- Jacques Lacan 75,400
- Emile Durkheim 72,300
- *Thomas Kuhn 53,800 (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 70,805)
- Gilles Deleuze 66,000
- Ludwig Wittgenstein 65,600
- Amartya Sen 64,600
- Edward Said 63,400
- Karl Popper 62,300
- Noam Chomsky 61,500
- Anthony Giddens 58,300
- Antonio Gramsci 56,300
- Jurgen Habermas 54,800
- *Umberto Eco 54,800
- Judith Butler 52,500 (Gender Trouble 27,913)
- Stuart Hall 52,300
Weber: The huge discrepancy between the two figures (results versus actual citations) might be explained by the fact that he has a relatively common German name. Given that uncertainty, I’ve listed him third, but ahead of Freud. Weberians can list him first if they wish. (Or come up with a more scientific methodology.)
Benjamin: Conceivably the name “Walter Benjamin” could appear as the first two names of someone with a different surname.
Kuhn: I’ve ordered him according to the number of citations for The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, since those are actual citations and not just “results.”
Eco: While he is technically tied with Habermas, I’ve listed him second because many of his citations are to his fictional works.