History and Social Theory

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Cornell University Press, 2005 - History - 224 pages

"Burke attends in critically appreciative ways to a remarkably diverse array of scholars and schools in both history and social theory, from Annales figures and British Marxists to social theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu and Anthony Giddens and critical-historical philosophers such as Michel Foucault and Jürgen Habermas."--Journal of American History

"Provides an invaluable overview of prior developments and current trends in historical work by anthropologists, historians, and sociologists."--Contemporary Sociology

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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About the author (2005)

Peter Burke is a fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. His books include Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence, also from Cornell; The European Renaissance: Centres and Peripheries; and A Social History of Knowledge from Gutenberg to Diderot.

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