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Reliving the Past: The Worlds of Social History [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1986) Reliving the Past: The Worlds of Social History [Book Review]. Reviews in American History, 14 (3). pp. 342-347. ISSN 0048-7511.

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Social history's hundred flowers campaign, Olivier Zunz in effect announces, has gone on long enough. Suffering from "fragmentation and a diminished focus," lacking "a clear program," increasingly "uncritical" in the use of social scientific theories, the field "now needs reordering." In place of geographically and topically narrow studies, overspecialization, and subordination to frameworks borrowed from the social sciences, we are to have "large syntheses" about "major transformations" common to many countries, and theories and methods are apparently to be generated largely within history itself (pp. 3-10). To connect the overview from the top to the perspective from the bottom up, Charles Tilly provides an arresting slogan in the first of the book's five single-authored historiographical essays, each on the modern history of a major region or country: "How did Europeans live the big changes?" (p. 11). Exemplary monographs having failed to discipline the field, the writers turn to the genre of the hortatory literature review. What is the new program and how likely is it to remake social history?

Item Type:Article
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Alternate Title:Big Changes in Social History
Additional Information:© 1986 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Book review of: Olivier Zunz, ed. Reliving the Past: The Worlds of Social History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. ISBN: 9780807816585
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131009-100000786
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Official Citation: Reliving the Past: The Worlds of Social History by Olivier Zunz Review by: J. Morgan Kousser Reviews in American History , Vol. 14, No. 3 (Sep., 1986), pp. 342-347 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41797
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:10 Oct 2013 16:41
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:52

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