(Free Epub) ï Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning) õ eBook or E-pub free
This is a book of theory Sewell writes about his experience as a historian and evaluates the various approaches to history that he has been involved with Starting as a social historian, using numerical methods to write about those without a voice, he moved into cultural history, which meant looking at texts for the meaning they shed on events He thinks that the social sciences have much to teach historians, but he also argues here for what historians have to teach social scientists interested in history This is not an easy book to read, but if you want to think about history and not just consume narratives, this is a good place to start. I am all about chapters 7, 8, and 9 in this book The others are reasonably compelling, but they lack the historical context that make 7, 8, and 9 so fascinating In chapter 7, he analyzes Marshall Sahlin s Possible Theory of History in the context of Sahlin s work on Captain Cook s ill fated trip to Hawaii There is probably no better example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, which means that Sahlin has a great appreciation for historical contingency and human agency Chapter 8 deals with one of Sewell s specialties, the storming of the Bastille Sewell makes a compelling argument about how Bastille Day s prominence in the story of the French Revolution was not accidental, nor was it inevitable Chapter 9 explores historical duration and temporal complexity through the changing fortunes of dockworkers in Marseilles I feel like these chapters are easy to get sucked into and are convincing than those which present naked theory alone.It was also interesting to find out after reading the book that the essays are not in their original order In a way, the whole book made sense when I realized that the reason certain things felt helter skelter was that they were decades apart in time.
This is an excellent book, and very readable as long as you are familiar with the concepts involved Sewell manages to make an impressively viable argument for incorporating useful aspects of the heavily structuralist social history into the contemporary cultural turn This kind of argument for synthesis and moderation in theory is too rare, and refreshing to see. Stimulating and largely persuasive Recommended to all my fellow history students, particularly those doing social or cultural work which is to say, recommended to everybody who knows what s good for you.Sewell s goal is to bring historians and social scientists together He argues that each of these groups has a useful theoretical contribution to make to the other Too often, however, historians either neglect theory or copy it unmodified from the other disciplines into their own writing The result, in a work of history, is to impoverish either the generally static account of social context or the dynamic narrative of events, respectively At the same time, historians generally fail to articulate for social scientists their acute intuition regarding social time in other words, historians have failed to help sociologists, anthropologists, and economists understand how events can transform social structures If they remedy this failing, Sewell hopes, historians will help social scientists create dynamic accounts of social life.In addition to this dialogue between historians and social scientists, Sewell conducts a dialogue between social and cultural history, which often amounts to a dialogue between structuralism and poststructuralism Sewell is annoyed that historians have had to choose between them, especially when they are in an excellent position to demonstrate the consonance of these approaches He suggests that we might define culture as the semiotic dimension of human social practice i.e., as neither practice alone nor meaning alone, but the meaning that attaches to material and practice 164 We might also define society as a built environment in which meaning both reshapes the material context of human life and is in turn shaped by that context 362 The ultimate goal here, I infer, is to create a place for human agency within structural theories of social life, and at the same time a place for structure within theories of human agency.In the short term, Sewell s book is probably most valuable for its careful discussion of the historical implications of various social scientists work, and of the social implications of various historians work No chapter lacks for examples In particular, an historian reading the book may come away with a better understanding of the anthropologists Clifford Geertz and Marshall Sahlins, who each get a full chapter. A very useful book for social science students to get the sense of historians and history students to know the utility of developing conceptual tools The first chapter is espcially interesting as the author traced his own intellectual career and related it not only to shifts of academic paradigmns but also to structural changes in our contempoary world in which the academias are situated Later chapters go deep in to methodological issues grounded in his detailed presentation of the writings of the French Revolution Geertz and Sahlins surely inspired his ideas in a great deal as Sewell was able to practice Geertz s insight of meanings as public and Sahlins s of the dialectical relationship between structure and event in very concrete historical studies His style is clear his conceptual awareness and his knowledge of the implicit and explict assumptions in a handful of disciplines simply guides the reader through an enterprise which would have looked formidable. Despite a healthy degree of repetition and reinforcement, this collection of essays presents so many discrete concepts and arguments about historiography that it is often quite challenging but always invigorating simply to begin to assimilate its ideas as guides for the writing of history Yet so than most theoretical works, Sewell clearly intends his work as an aid for historians who struggle with the conceptual thinness of many core practices in the field, who would like to reground their own research and writing on solider ground than convention and piecemeal poaching from other disciplines Sewell s great advantage in this task is, in fact, his ability to articulate a common conceptual grammar buried deep beneath the jargon of the interpretive social sciences, to demonstrate how anthropology, sociology, and history can and have be of mutual aid because they connect at crucial, but frequently obscured, theoretical maybe even metaphysical points Of great, and I would expect lasting, value. I m not that big on reading pure theory, but really like this book about events, social structures, and social temporality Drawing together insights from social science and history, I believe that this collection of essays should transform how both are done. Lucid, example rich writing on the thorniest topics a theory of structure alone is worth grabbing a copy for giving Bourdieu s theories a much needed shot of adrenaline agency. (Free Epub) ⚠ Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning) Í While Social Scientists And Historians Have Been Exchanging Ideas For A Long Time, They Have Never Developed A Proper Dialogue About Social Theory William H Sewell Jr Observes That On Questions Of Theory The Communication Has Been Mostly One Way From Social Science To History Logics Of History Argues That Both History And The Social Sciences Have Something Crucial To Offer Each Other While Historians Do Not Think Of Themselves As Theorists, They Know Something Social Scientists Do Not How To Think About The Temporalities Of Social Life On The Other Hand, While Social Scientists Treatments Of Temporality Are Usually Clumsy, Their Theoretical Sophistication And Penchant For Structural Accounts Of Social Life Could Offer Much To HistoriansRenowned For His Work At The Crossroads Of History, Sociology, Political Science, And Anthropology, Sewell Argues That Only By Combining A Sophisticated Understanding Of Historical Time With A Concern For Larger Theoretical Questions Can A Satisfying Social Theory Emerge In Logics Of History, He Reveals The Shape Such An Engagement Could Take, Some Of The Topics It Could Illuminate, And How It Might Affect Both Sides Of The Disciplinary Divide Must read for those interested in the theory and methods of social history.