History and Social Theory
by Peter Burke
What is the use of social theory to historians, and of history to social theorists? In clear and energetic prose, a pre--eminent cultural historian ... Show synopsis What is the use of social theory to historians, and of history to social theorists? In clear and energetic prose, a pre--eminent cultural historian here offers a far--reaching response to these deceptively simple questions. In this classic text, now revised and updated in its second edition, Peter Burke reviews afresh the relationship between the fields of history and the social sciences and their tentative convergence in recent decades. 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, such as the opposition between structure and human agency, which 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 post--colonialism. The second edition of History and Social Theory will continue to stimulate both students and scholars across a range of disciplines with its challenging assessment of the roles of history and social science today.