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Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (2000) Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods [Book Review]. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 31 (2). pp. 247-248. ISSN 0022-1953. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-155143367

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Abstract

New Zealand social historian Fairburn’s textbook on research design and argumentation should be widely adopted for graduate classes in history. Drawing on the philosophy of science, Fairburn questions the widespread practices in social history of, for instance, generalizing from isolated instances, unsystematically assessing differences and similarities between and within various groups, and evaluating interpretations on mainly stylistic or ideological grounds, instead of on the basis of the logic and power of their models. Although he persuasively criticizes the cultural relativism of postmodernist and hermeneutic approaches as self-refuting, he is better, and more comfortable, discussing such “soft” stances than he is discussing economics and other “hard” social sciences— which he virtually ignores, despite economists’ numerous contributions to social history—or statistical methods—which he distrusts when authors cannot completely explain them in simple terms to skeptical innumerates.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/002219500551541DOIBook review
http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/002219500551541PublisherBook review
http://us.macmillan.com/socialhistory/MilesFairburnPublisherBook publisher
Additional Information:© 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Book review of: Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods. By Miles Fairburn. New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780312221232
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-155143367
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20131008-155143367
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41761
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:09 Oct 2013 17:10
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:51

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