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History and Social Theory

by Peter Burke

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What is the use of social theory to historians, and of history to social theorists? In clear and energetic prose, a preeminent cultural historian here offers a far-reaching response to these deceptively simple questions. Peter Burke reviews the emergence of the fields of history and social science and traces their tentative convergence as he reappraises the relations between them. Burke first examines what uses historians have made--or might make--of the models, methods, and concepts of the social sciences, and then analyzes some of the intellectual conflicts that are at the heart of the tension between history and social theory. Throughout, he draws from a broad range of cultures and periods to illustrate how history, in turn, has been used to create and validate social theories. This new edition brings the book up to date with the addition of examples and discussions of new topics such as social capital, globalization, and postcolonialism.… (more)
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What is the use of social theory to historians, and of history to social theorists? In clear and energetic prose, a preeminent cultural historian here offers a far-reaching response to these deceptively simple questions. Peter Burke reviews the emergence of the fields of history and social science and traces their tentative convergence as he reappraises the relations between them. Burke first examines what uses historians have made--or might make--of the models, methods, and concepts of the social sciences, and then analyzes some of the intellectual conflicts that are at the heart of the tension between history and social theory. Throughout, he draws from a broad range of cultures and periods to illustrate how history, in turn, has been used to create and validate social theories. This new edition brings the book up to date with the addition of examples and discussions of new topics such as social capital, globalization, and postcolonialism.

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