This article is concerned with history that is fuzzy in the sense of impressionistic rather than systematic, using “soft” rather than “hard” data and concerned more with “lumping” than with “splitting.” It argues that there have been at least four phases in the two centuries of conflict between precise and fuzzy historians. In the first phase, in the nineteenth century, precise history, firmly based on documents, was defined, by Leopold von Ranke and the Rankeans, against an older fuzzy or “conjectural” (...) history. In a second phase, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a new fuzzy history was defined against “positivist” history, by Karl Lamprecht in Germany, Lucien Febvre in France, and George Trevelyan in England, among others. In a third phase, in the middle of the twentieth century, practitioners of quantitative history (sometimes known as the New Economic History or more generally as “cliometrics”) condemned all nonquantitative historians as fuzzy. In a fourth phase, from the 1970s onward, a still newer fuzzy history, comprising historical anthropology, microhistory, and the New Cultural History, was defined against quantitative history by scholars such as Georges Duby in France, Carlo Ginzburg in Italy, and Robert Darnton in the United States. In short, there has been a gradual move from more or less unself-conscious imprecision to self-conscious antiprecision. (shrink)
Ever since Clifford Geertz urged the “blurring of genres” in the social sciences, many scholars have considered the crossing of disciplinary boundaries a healthy alternative to rigidly maintaining them. But what precisely does the metaphor of “blurring” imply? By unpacking the varieties of visual experiences that are normally grouped under this rubric, this essay seeks to provide some precision to our understanding of the implications of fuzziness. It extrapolates from the blurring caused by differential focal distances, velocities of objects in (...) the visual field, and competing perspectival vantage points to comparable effects in the intersection of different scholarly disciplines. Arguing against the holistic implications of Geertz's metaphor, as well as the even more totalizing concept of “consilience” introduced by E. O. Wilson, it suggests that blurring implies new types of complexity between or among those disciplines. (shrink)
Within identity control theory (ICT), identities control meaning and resources by bringing perceptions of these in the situation into alignment with references levels given in the identity standard. This article seeks to resolve three issues in ICT having to do with the source of the identity standard, the correspondence between identity standards and the identity relevant meanings perceived in the situation or environment, and the activation of identities. Classifier systems, as developed by John Holland, are inductive, flexible, rule-based, message-passing, adaptive (...) systems that are able to learn, to fit in, and to adapt to various and changing environments. Classifier systems are introduced and are extended to incorporate the central components of the model of identity as held in ICT. In this manner, a new identity model is proposed that has inductive and adaptive capacities able to resolve the three issues identified. Unexpectedly, the new model also lays the groundwork for the possible resolution of a long-standing issue within the symbolic interaction framework concerning the origins of shared meanings. (shrink)
... The purpose of this paper is to try to clarify the extent to which consumers “value” ethical product features when making purchases by utilizing a distinctive methodology – structured choice experiments ( Louviere et al., 2000) – that What Will Consumers Pay ... Jordan J. Louviere ... \n.
The importance of ethical consumerism to many companies worldwide has increased dramatically in recent years. Ethical consumerism encompasses the importance of non-traditional and social components of a company's products and business process to strategic success - such as environmental protectionism, child labor practices and so on. The present paper utilizes a random utility theoretic experimental design to provide estimates of the relative value selected consumers place on the social features of products.
One of the major intellectual debates at the beginning of the new century concerns the status of accounts of the past. Do historians discover or invent, construct or reconstruct the objects they study? The discussion has been particularly lively in France and in the USA, and it is therefore appropriate that a group of distinguished historians from Britain should now engage with this subject. These ten essays present a historical and critical overview of British historical thought and writing since 1900, (...) focusing on selected periods, regions, disciplines, and themes. This challenging volume will intrigue anyone interested in the process of history writing. (shrink)
Sir Keith Thomas is one of the most innovative and influential of English historians, and a scholar of unusual range. These essays, presented to him on his retirement as President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, concentrate on one of the broad themes illuminated by his work - changing notions of civility in the past. From the sixteenth century onwards, civility was a term applied to modes of behaviour as well as to cultural and civic attributes. Its influence extended from styles (...) of language and sexual mores to funeral ceremonies and commercial morality. It was used to distinguish the civil from the barbarous and the English from the Irish and Welsh, and to banish superstition and justify imperialism. The contributors - distinguished historians who have been Keith Thomas's pupils - illustrate the many implications of civility in the early modern period and its shifts of meaning down to the twentieth century. (shrink)