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The Revivalism of Narrative: A Response to Recent Criticisms of Quantitative History

Kousser, J. Morgan (1982) The Revivalism of Narrative: A Response to Recent Criticisms of Quantitative History. Social Science Working Paper, 453. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Despite the continued and perhaps even increased productivity of quantitative social scientific historians (QUASSU, for short) and certain evidences of their acceptance by the historical profession, a reaction against QUASSH, first bruited shortly after the initial quantitative work was published, also continues. Calls for a return to the narrative tradition or suggestions that historians are returning to it, recently made by such leaders of the profession as Lawrence Stone and Bernard Bailyn, have begun to percolate down to the popular media. Rather than dismiss the criticisms of QUASSU out of hand, I attempt in this paper to categorize and answer them. Finding the objections misconceived, illogical, incomplete, or overstated, I examine also a proposal by Theodore Rabb to substitute a criterion of general quality for a consensus on methods. I find it difficult to believe that groups who begin from such different premises as QUASSH and some, but of course not all non-QUASSH historians, will agree on a "quality" criterion. Thus, it is unlikely that the schism will be quickly healed or that a respectful latitudinarianism will soon develop.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Alternate Title: The Revivalism of Narrative: A Response to Recent Criticisms of Quantitative History
Additional Information:This paper was delivered at the First International Conference on Quantitative History, Washington, D.C., March 1982, and at the California State University, Fullerton.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Social science history, Narrative history, Social sciences, Economic history, Narratives, Historians, Narrative modes, United States history, Military history, Regression coefficients
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:453
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170926-152428207
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81855
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:26 Sep 2017 22:44
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:48

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