This collection of essays on the socialhistory of disciplinary practices in education in North America, Northern Europe, and Colonial Bengal coverage upon an understanding that schools regulate the behavior of beliefs of students, teachers, and parents by enforcing certain disciplinary social norms.
This paper discusses the prospect of the "new socialhistory" guided by the recent work of Charles Tilly on the methodology of social and historical explanation. Tilly advocates explanation by mechanisms as the alternative to the covering law explanation. Tilly's proposals are considered to be the attempt to reshape the practices of social and historical explanation following the example set by the explanatory practices of molecular biology, neurobiology, and other recent "success stories" in the life sciences. (...) Recent work in the philosophy of science on these practices by Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, Carl Craver and others is used as the foil to disclose the difficulties of Tilly's project. Most important among them is the dilemma of specification: if diagrams (standard forms of the representation of mechanisms) are intended as representations of robust causal processes, they cannot be specific enough to provide complete mechanism schemata, and are bound to remain mechanism sketches. If mechanism sketches are elaborated in detail by tracing particular causal processes, they provide representations of fragile causal processes, which cannot be considered as mechanisms comparable to those in advanced life and other special sciences. Tilly's work on the explanation of mechanisms can be considered as symptomatic for the recent trend to visualize the forms of historical representation. As far as diagrams seem to be able to communicate stories in a direct way (without narrative discourse), this trend is a challenge for the theory of historical representation. The new theories of scientific explanation focusing on the explanatory practices of the life sciences can provide examples and be the source of inspiration for the work on the theory of historical and social explanation, going beyond the confines of the received framework of the covering law model of explanation. (shrink)
Using mainly historical material fromAustralia, the paper seeks to understand earlyforms of school physical training, sport andmedical inspection as specialised means ofschooling bodies. The study adopts a socialepistemological perspective in seeking tounderstand the meaning-in-use of notions suchas physical training. It explores the socialconsequences of the practices carried out inthe name of physical training, particularly inrelation to shifts in the social regulation ofbodies over time from a mass, externalised, andcentralised form to a relatively moreindividualised, internalised and diffuse form.This focus on (...) the body is of key importance fora social epistemological study of physicaleducation because it forces us to look closelyat the practices constituting physicaleducation. (shrink)
Divided into two parts this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the `organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the `rationalistic revolution' of the `golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the social sciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on to (...) examine the `collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social science today. (shrink)
In the development of Roman Catholic social thought from the teachings of the scholastics to the modern social encyclicals, changes in normative economics reflect the transformation of an economic terrain from its feudal roots to the modern industrial economy. The preeminence accorded by the modern market to the allocative over the distributive function of price broke the convenient convergence of commutative and distributive justice in scholastic just price theory. Furthermore, the loss of custom, law, and usage in defining (...) the boundaries of economic behavior led to a depersonalization of economic relationships that had previously provided effective informal means of protecting individual well-being. Hence, recent economic ethics has had to look for nonprice, nonmarket mechanisms for distributive justice. This is reflected, for example, in the shift in attitude from the medieval antipathy toward unions to the contemporary defense of organized labor on moral grounds. (shrink)
Possibilities haunt history. The force of our explanations of events turns on the alternative possibilities those explanations suggest. It is these possible worlds that give us our understanding; and in human affairs, we decide them by practical rather than theoretical judgment. In this widely acclaimed account of the role of counterfactuals in explanation, Geoffrey Hawthorn deploys extended examples to defend his argument. His conclusions cast doubt on existing assumptions about the nature and place of theory, and indeed of the (...) possibility of knowledge itself, in the human sciences. (shrink)
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)is supporting a research project entitled ?Case studies towards the establishment of a socialhistory of logic? with a grant, initially for two years. The project is being carried out by a team of five members under the direction of Professor Christian Thiel in the Institut für Philosophie and the Interdisziplinäres Institut für Wissenschaftstheorie und Wissenschaftsgeschichte (IIWW) of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.
Bedwetting has confounded the presumed boundaries of the human body, existing in a fluid space, between the normal and pathological. Its treatment has demanded the application of a wide array of different technologies, each based on a distinct conception of the relationship between the body and personality, human organs and personal conduct. In tracing the socialhistory of bedwetting and its regulation, this article examines the ontological assumptions underpinning the treatment of bedwetting and how they have changed over (...) the past two centuries. Through the analysis of medical journals, newspaper articles and magazine advertisements, different topologies are identified which redefine the boundaries of the human body and its capacities. From 16th-century naturalism, in which the human body is subordinated to a cosmic totality, to the circumscribed space of 19th-century paediatrics and the expansive circuits of behavioural psychology and modern psychoanalysis, the body has become multiplied, differently enacted through the application of diverse technologies. It will be shown how coordinating the messy and divergent conceptions of the human body has posed an endemic problem for the human sciences, and how the enduring tension between object enactment and subject constitution is an expression of modern ‘baroque’ subjectivity. (shrink)
There are plausible academic as well as social indicators that qualitative research has become an indispensable part of the methodological repertoire of the social sciences. Relying upon the tenets of the qualitative approach which require a priority of subject matter over method and a necessary socio-historical contextualization, I reconstruct some aspects of a socialhistory that have shaped the quantitative—qualitative dichotomy and the quantitative imperative; these include modern individualism, monological rationality, manufacture operating on the grounds of (...) common human labour, mechanics as the first science, quantification as a technology of distanced objectivity and a search for certainty realized at the expense of qualitative attributes. The so-called renaissance of the qualitative approach starting in 1960s, understood as a kind of a return of repressed qualities, is also socio-culturally contextualized. Both anthropogenetic and sociogenetic reconstructions as well as a microgenetic analysis of the research process demonstrate that choices of subject matter and of methodology are socially and culturally embedded and necessarily linked to broader interests and beliefs. (shrink)
This article argues against Catton and Dunlap’s claims that the natural environment has been ignored or downplayed in American sociology before the emergence of environmental sociology in the 1970s. By reviewing a collection of 86 sociology textbooks between 1894 and 1980, the article provides quantitative evidence regarding the scope and types of references to the natural environment in mainstream sociology. The bulk of the article is based on an interpretive-historical analysis of the different representations of the environment in the textbook (...) literature. This analysis is carried out from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge, whereby sociological ideas about nature are interpreted in terms of their intellectual milieu and social context. The main finding is that the ‘natural environment’ has been interpreted in different ways and has been put to a variety of epistemological and ideological uses — particularly positivism and functionalism — throughout the history of the discipline. (shrink)
This paper presents the history of the Frankfurt School’s inclusion of normative concerns in social science research programs during the period 1930-1955. After examining the relevant methodology, I present a model of how such a program could look today. I argue that such an approach is both valuable to contemporary social science programs and overlooked by current philosophers and social scientists.
In the increasing body of metatheoretical literature on "causal mechanisms," definitions of "mechanism" proliferate, and these increasingly divergent definitions reproduce older theoretical and methodological oppositions. The reason for this proliferation is the incompatibility of the various metatheoretical expectations directed to them: (1) to serve as an alternative to the scientific theory of individual behavior (for some social theorists, most notably Jon Elster); (2) to provide solutions for causal inference problems in the quantitative social sciences, in social (...) class='Hi'>history, and in the (3) qualitative research context; and (4) to serve as an alternative for narratives (Charles Tilly). Mechanisms can do (1) only as under-specified law-like regularities, deliver (2) as robust generative processes represented by models, and accomplish (3) as fragile generative processes (stories), but these are not all compatible. (edited). (shrink)
The frequency of historical materialist explanations in evolutionary social sciences is very low even though historical materialism and evolutionism have great many shared aims towards explaining the long term social change. David Laibman in his Deep History (2007) picks up some of the standard questions of evolutionary social theory and aims at advancing the conception of historical materialism so as to develop a Marxist theory of history from an evolutionary point of view. The contribution of (...) Laibman’s work is to show that historical and materialist explanations are present both in Marxian and evolutionary interpretations of history, and moreover, the traditional borders of historical materialism can be enlarged so as to embrace evolutionary methodology in explaining social change. The unbalanced research methodology of Laibman’s work, however, reduces the evolutionary depth of his contribution. The two main shortcomings of Laibman’s work are discussed under the titles of “The Audience Problem” and “The Evolutionary Problem”. (shrink)
Many theorists have regarded genealogy as an important technique for social criticism. But it has been unclear how genealogy can go beyond the accomplishments of other, more mundane, critical methods. I propose a new approach to understanding the critical potential of history. I argue that theorists have been misled by the assumption that if a claim is deserving of criticism, it is because the claim is false. Turning to the criticism of concepts rather than criticism of claims, I (...) expand on the distinction between "descriptive semantics" and "foundational semantics" to show that genealogy can be uniquely qualified to explore the foundations of concepts, and hence to criticize concepts that are problematic in nonobvious ways. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We (...) defend the last position. Finally, our third aim is to argue that pluralism should not be equated with “anything goes”: we will argue for non-relativistic explanatory pluralism. This pluralism will be illustrated by examples from history and social science in which different forms of explanation (for example, structural, functional, and intentional explanations) are discussed, and the fruitfulness of our framework for understanding explanatory pluralism is shown. (shrink)
Judgments of explanatory exclusion are a necessary part of the explanatory practice of any historian or social scientist. In this article, the author argues that all explanatory exclusion results from mutual explanatory incompatibility of some sort. Different types of exclusion arise primarily as a result of the different elements composing "an explanation." Of most philosophical interest are judgments of explanatory exclusion resulting from the incompatibility of explanatory relevance claims. The author demonstrates that an ontic theory of explanation is necessary (...) to make sense of this type of exclusion and in so doing develops an analysis similar to Jaegwon Kims well-known analysis of explanatory exclusion. To conclude, the author demonstrates the differences and connections between Kims analysis and his own. Key Words: explanation social science history exclusion compatibility. (shrink)
Physical attractiveness has always had a large effect on personal success, social standing, and behavior. In It , Arthur Marwick observes beauty as a possessed quality as important to ones fate as intelligence, strength, wealth, education, or family. From royal mistresses and ancient queens to modern film stars and politicians, Marwick looks at the potent influence appearance has had on history and human fate.
Who is speaking in the history of social thought? The question of the authentic voice of social thought is typically posed in terms that tend to be either ambitiously theoretical or carefully methodological. Thus histories of social thought frequently offer either a résumé of general ideas about society (say from Montesquieu to Parsons) or a survey which gets bogged down in a rather tedious, nit-picking debate about empirical methodology. This paper is something of a preview of (...) a pro jected attempt on the part of the authors to capture the voice of social thought in rather different terms. Our three theses are: (1) that those who speak 'in the name of society' have just as frequently been doctors and bureaucrats as opposed to 'social philosophers' or professional sociologists; correlatively, (2) that the creative voice of social thought has more often been technical, problem-centred and tied up with par ticular rationalities of government as opposed to being either exclu sively theoretical or merely responsive to 'objective problems' in society; and, (3) that if sociology today struggles for a voice in which to speak this may be in some part due to the ways in which the past history of social thought has typically been conceived. (shrink)
This article considers different ways in which keywords and concepts have been, and might be, explored. It summarizes the methodological discussions of a project to analyse 'commonwealth' in the period 1450-1800. 'Commonwealth' was a part of a conceptual field of terms to do with the public good and thus serves as a case study for wider problems of approaching such keywords through a collaboration across disciplines and reflects the importance of recent attempts to provide social and literary contexts for (...) political discourse. Early modern states and their authority are now recognized to be as much socially and culturally as politically constructed, thus widening not only the essential 'context' which students of political discourse must take into account, but also requiring social historians to engage with the language of politics, the metaphors, images and genres of which scholars of literature and art likewise can illuminate. This social and cultural turn to political discourse helps the recovery of the language of vice and virtue which was so intrinsic to the deployment of keywords and concepts. The German conceptual history school is also relevant and useful in requiring us to think about how concepts were constituted and change over time, though its chronological focus needs to be extended to embrace more fully the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Finally, the article offers some pointers about how technology might be utilized to maximize the necessary collaborations that have been outlined. (shrink)
Forty-two essays by authors from five continents and many disciplines provide a synthetic account of the history of the social sciences-including behavioral and economic sciences since the late eighteenth century. The authors emphasize the cultural and intellectual preconditions of social science, and its contested but important role in the history of the modern world. While there are many historical books on particular disciplines, there are very few about the social sciences generally, and none that deal (...) with so much of the world over so long a timespan. (shrink)
Taking its departure from current debates over social capital, this article presents new textual findings in a backward-revealing conceptual history. In particular, it analyzes the texts and contexts of Lyda J. Hanifan who was rediscovered by Robert Putnam as having (allegedly first) used the term; it offers discoveries of earlier uses of the term and concept-most notably by John Dewey-thereby introducing critical pragmatism as another tradition of social capital; and it recovers features of the critique of political (...) economy in the nineteenth century-from Bellamy to Marshall to Sidgwick to Marx-that assessed "capital from the social point of view," especially cooperative associations. While it ends with Marx's use of "social capital," Dewey is its central figure. The article concludes by returning to the present and offering work, sympathy, civic education, and a critical stance as emergent themes from this conceptual history that might enrich current debates. (shrink)
The impact of social factors upon the philosophical investigations in a broad sense is quite evident. Nevertheless their impact upon epistemology as a branch of philosophy, logic, and history of science as fields of research with noticeable philosophical content is not evident enough. We are keen to claim that this impact exists within some limits, although it is not so overtly evident. Moreover in the case of Marxism it is of a paradoxical nature. Marxism always puts the accent (...) on the role of social and economic factors in the development, development of science included. To a large extent due to Marxism, externalism emerged; the key idea of externalism may be expressed through the statement that social and economic reasons are the main sources of development of science. B.M. Hessen declared and did his best in 1931 to justify this statement through the example of the emergence of classical mechanics. Meanwhile the social milieu of Marxist countries placed a taboo on the externalist approach towards epistemology, the interpretation of logic, and history of science. All these fields of knowledge were evolved in the Marxist era in the USSR and Eastern Europe - despite the spirit of Marxism - within strict internalist boarders. We offer the explanation of this contradiction. (shrink)
Peter Homans offers a new understanding of the origins of psychoanalysis and relates the psychoanalytic project as a whole to the sweep of Western culture, past and present. He argues that Freud's fundamental goal was the interpretation of culture and that, therefore, psychoanalysis is fundamentally a humanistic social science. To establish this claim, Homans looks back at Freud's self-analysis in light of the crucial years from 1906 to 1914 when the psychoanalytic movement was formed and shows how these experiences (...) culminated in Freud's cultural texts. By exploring the "culture of psychoanalysis," Homans seeks a better understanding of what a "psychoanalysis of culture" might be. Psychoanalysis, Homans shows, originated as a creative response to the withering away of traditional communities and their symbols in the aftermath of the industrial revolution. The loss of these attachments played a crucial role in the lives of the founders of psychoanalysis, especially Sigmund Freud but also Karl Abraham, Carl Jung, Otto Rank, and Ernest Jones. The personal, political, and religious losses that these figures experienced, the introspection that followed, and the psychological discovery that resulted are what Homans calls "the ability to mourn." Homans expands this historical analysis to construct a general model of psychological discovery: the loss of shared ideals and symbols can produce a deeper sense of self (psychological structure-building, or individuation) and can then lead to the creation of new forms of meaning and self-understanding. He shows how Freud, Jung, and other psychoanalysts began to extend their introspection outward, reinterpreting the meanings of Western art, history, and religion. In conclusion, Homans evaluates Freud's theory of culture and discusses the role that psychoanalysis might play in social and cultural criticism. Throughout the book, Homans makes use of the many histories, biographies, and psychobiographies that have been written about the origins of psychoanalysis, drawing them into a comprehensive sociocultural model. Rich in insights and highly original in approach, this work will interest psychoanalysts and students of Freud, sociologists concerned with modernity and psychoanalysis, and cultural critics in the fields of religion, anthropology, political science, and socialhistory. (shrink)
Understanding in its widest sense is the aim of all rational knowledge. A distinction can be made between interpretation (leading to the understanding of meanings) and explanation (leading to the understanding of facts). The view that in the social sciences facts and meanings are the same is criticized. In respect of the specific understanding of human and social facts empathetic and rational understanding are distinguished and some of the difficulties pointed out inherent in both, in particular with regard (...) to testability. On the other hand, it is found that a purely behaviouristic approach, although possible, would not be completely satisfactory, so that in spite of all difficulties the social sciences (history included) cannot do without specific understanding, as a heuristic device as well as an aim. (shrink)
Abstract Science and technology studies (STS) has perhaps provided the most ambitious set of challenges to the boundary separating history and philosophy of science since the 19th century idealists and positivists. STS is normally associated with `social constructivism', which when applied to history of science highlights the malleability of the modal structure of reality. Specifically, changes to what is (e.g. by the addition or removal of ideas or things) implies changes to what has been, can be and (...) might be. Latour's account of Pasteur's scientific achievement is a case in point. Two polar attitudes towards the world's modal malleability are identified: over - and under - determination, which correspond, respectively, to a belief in the inevitability and the precariousness of science as a form of knowledge. The distinctness of these positions reflects a cordon sanitaire between the history and the philosophy of science. Consequently, historical agents are not given full voice as constructors of reality: They are either quarantined to a foreign realm called `the past' by the historian or selectively assimilated to an imperial present by the philosopher. The second half of the essay explores what it might mean to restore a robust sense of reality construction to the historical agents. My case in point here is that of the 13th century Franciscan friar, Roger Bacon, who has been alternatively seen as a mad medieval or a proto-modernist. To give Bacon full voice would involve taking the future that he envisaged as a normative benchmark for judging our own world. (shrink)
Authors have contrasted social change and history many times, especially in terms of the significance of the event in accounting for the broadest contours of human societies' evolution. After recasting Gerhard Lenski's ecological-evolutionary theory in a critical fashion, by emphasizing its engagement with alternativity and by introducing a different approach to structure, I reconsider the salience of the event in the developmentalist project and suggest that ecological-evolutionary theory can be quite helpful in posing new questions about an eventful (...) sociology. By rethinking communism's collapse in 1989 and terrorism's explosion in 2001 within Lenski's theoretical frame, one can suggest critical transformations of theory and research on the evolution of human societies. (shrink)
Stuart Macintyre, The Poor Relation. A History of Social Sciences in Australia Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 355-358 DOI 10.1007/s11024-011-9173-3 Authors Henrika Kuklick, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania, 303 Cohen Hall, 249 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304, USA Journal Minerva Online ISSN 1573-1871 Print ISSN 0026-4695 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 3.
This paper challenges a pervasive curricular justification for educationally acquainting young people with stories of genocide and other moral horrors from history. According to this justification, doing so favours the development of psycho-social soft skills connected with interpersonal awareness and the establishment and maintenance of positive relationships. It is argued that this justification not only renders the specific historical content incidental to the development of these skills. The educational intention of promoting such psycho-social soft skills by way (...) of studying moral horrors in history constitutes an ethically problematic instrumentalisation of the historical material itself. (shrink)
An interdisciplinary reappraisal of Lynn White, Jr.’s “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis” reopens several issues, including the suggestion by Peter Harrison that White’s thesis was historical and that it is a mistake to regard it as theological. It also facilitates a comparison between “Roots” and White’s earlier book Medieval Technology and Social Change. In “Roots,” White discarded or de-emphasized numerous qualifications and nuances present in his earlier work so as to heighten the effect of certain rhetorical aphorisms (...) and to generalize their scope and bearing well beyond what the evidence could bear. The meaning of Genesis and other biblical books proves to be just as important in White’s thesis as their historical reception. In “Roots,” White presents, alongside other contentions, the claims that Christian doctrines have all along been both anthropocentric and despotic, especially in the West, and that this is where the real roots of the problems are to be found. These claims, however, conflict with most of the relevant evidence. An adequate reappraisal of White’s work needs to recognize that there is a cultural determinism parallel to the technological determinisms alleged by R. H. Hilton and P. H. Sawyer, to endorse Elspeth Whitney’s “single-cause” critique of links between religion and technological change in the Middle Ages, and to treat sympathetically Whitney’s claim that White and some of his eco-theological critics (despite their disagreements) have in common both their valorizing of individual beliefs and values and their neglect of economic and institutional factors. Nevertheless, our ecological problems need to be understood through explanations turning on beliefs and values as well as on economics and institutions. (shrink)
The views of some historians and philosophers of history as to the possibility of fruitful historical generalization seem at odds with the underlying methodology of the other social sciences. A formal model of the world historical process is here presented within which this apparent contradiction is seen to be resolvable in terms of modern theories of probability and stochastic processes. This is done by giving rigorous form to procedures and statements in the social sciences. A formal treatment (...) of the dependence of an investigation in one discipline on previous studies both in that area and in other social and natural sciences then follows naturally. (shrink)