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Title: ?????? ?????????? Lecture 6 Approach to Comparative-Historical Method (3): Constructionism in Historical Perspective


1
????????????????Lecture 6Approach to
Comparative-Historical Method (3)
Constructionism in Historical Perspective
2
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3
  • Michael Stanfords The Nature of Historical
    Knowledge The Predicament of the Historians

Unseen
Seen
Past events Historical field
Historical evidence
The construction in the historians mind
Historical communication (book, lecture or
article)
The public mind
Historical action (which become part of
historical events)
4
Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  1. The incomplete objectivity in historical study
    In comparison with the objectivity attained or
    claimed to have attained in natural science,
    Ricoeur underlines that historical objectivity is
    an incomplete objectivity (1965, p.26) Their
    incompleteness can be featured in four counts

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Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  • The incomplete objectivity in historical study..
  • Judgment of importance Choices made by historian
    in their process of investigations are based
    mainly on judgment of importance rather than
    empirically and objectively derived criteria,
    which natural scientists claimed to have used.
    Historians judgments of importance (in Webers
    words cultural significance) will not only
    affect historians choice of topics and/or
    problem of investigation, but will play essential
    parts in choice of data (i.e. historical
    documents or any other forms of historical
    artifact), in constructing causal sequences (i.e.
    narrative), in selecting contextual factors,
    against which the data and causal explanations
    are set against.

7
Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  • The incomplete objectivity in historical study
  • Conception of causality
  • According to Ernest Nagels classification
    explanation can be differentiated into deductive
    model, probabilistic explanation, functional
    explanation and genetic explanation. He
    characterizes that historical inquiries
    frequently undertake to explain why it is that a
    given subject has certain characteristics, by
    describing how the subject has evolved out of
    some earlier one. Such explanations are commonly
    called genetic. (Nagel, 1961, p. 25)
  • In this kind of explanations, what historians
    seek to attain is not determinations but
    conditions or fields of influence,
    opportunities, etc. (Ricoeur, 1965, p. 27)

8
Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  • The incomplete objectivity in historical study
  • Conception of causality
  • Accordingly, there are at least of three tiers of
    causality to be explored in historical studies
    (Ricoeur, 1965, p. 26)
  • The geo-political, socio-economic, and cultural
    conditions/ contexts
  • The temporal and/or epochal conditions/contexts
  • The flow of events.

9
Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  • The incomplete objectivity in historical study
  • Temporal distance
  • In historical investigation, historians encounter
    one objective difficulty, i.e. to understand
    their objects of inquiry in remote distance. They
    basically experience the phenomenon of
    self-alienation, of drawing out, of distension,
    in a word, of original otherness. (Ricoeur,
    1965, p. 27)
  • To overcome this kind of distance and otherness,
    historians have to project them into another
    present to be exact past. These efforts of
    projecting into the past, which has been
    characterized by Riceour as temporal
    imagination, require a kind of subjectivity,
    which is never approached by the science of
    space, matter, and life. (ibid, p. 28)

10
Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  • The incomplete objectivity in historical study
  • Human distance
  • What history ultimately tries to explain and
    understand are men. The past from which we are
    removed is human past. In addition to temporal,
    therefore, there is that specific distance which
    stems from the fact that the other is different
    man. (ibid, p. 28)
  • To overcome it, historians are expected to be
    able to wage a kind of sympathetic efforts in
    their investigation. That is, it is not merely
    an imaginative projection into another present
    but a real projection into another human life.
    (ibid, p. 28)

11
Paul Ricoeurs Objectivity and Subjectivity in
History
  • Objectivity in historians subjectivity In view
    of these features of incomplete objectivity in
    historical investigation, historians can guard
    against the trap of absolute relativism or
    subjectivism by
  • Objectification and reflection on historians
    subjectivity
  • Historical criticism among historians

12
The Nature of Historical Research Debate between
Modernist and Postmodernist
  1. Past events historical field Can they be fully
    recovered?
  2. Historical evidence Objective fact,
    theoretically mediated facts/ interpretation, or
    socially constructed reality
  3. The role of the historical researcher Objective
    reconstructionist, theoretically guided
    constructionist, interpreter of text within text
    within contextes
  4. Research output of historical study Authentic
    correspondence of the past, culturally
    significant representations of the past from
    selective perspectives, or retrieval of
    suppressed representations of the past

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The Nature of Historical Research Debate between
Modernist and Postmodernist
15
The Nature of Historical Research Debate between
Modernist and Postmodernist
Reconstructionist Traditional Historigraphy
e.g. Leopold von Ranke, Geoffrey Elton, C.B.
McCullagh...
Constructionist Historical Sociology e.g.
Karl Marx, Max Weber, Reinhard Bendix, Charles
Tilly, Theda Skocpol, Margaret Somers, ..
Deconstructionist Narrative, Trop, and
Discourse e.g. Hyden White, Michel
Foucault,
16
Leopold von Ranke and Modern Historicism The
Reconstructionist Project
  1. From the philosophy of history to the historical
    science Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886) has been
    respected by Western historians as the founding
    father of modern profession of historical
    science. He begins his project of building the
    profession of historical science by first of all
    criticizing the pitfalls of a philosophy of
    history (Ranke, 1973, Chapter 4)

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Leopold von Ranke and Modern Historicism The
Reconstructionist Project
  1. Ranke rejects the philosophy of history laid down
    by philosophers notably Hegel by criticizing
    Hegels assertion that reason rules the world.
    (Ranke, 1973, P. 49) And this reason, which has
    been characterized by Hegel as The Spirit, will
    set the path in which mankind is on an
    uninterrupted road to progress, in a steady
    development toward perfection. (Ranke, 1973, P.
    29)

19
Leopold von Ranke and Modern Historicism The
Reconstructionist Project
  • Accordingly, Ranke asserts that the subject of
    study in history is not the spirit or the
    universal destiny of human progress. Instead our
    subject is mankind as it is, explicable or
    inexplicable, the life of the individual, of the
    generations, of the people. (Ranke, 1973, P.
    138)
  • Furthermore, Ranke also refrains the mission that
    to history has been given the function of
    judging the past, of instructing men for the
    profit of future years. Instead he asserts that
    the present attempt does not aspire to such
    lofty undertaking. It merely wants to show how,
    essentially, things happened. (Ranke, 1973, P.
    137

20
Leopold von Ranke and Modern Historicism The
Reconstructionist Project
  1. The research strategies leading to the revelation
    of what actually happened, according to Rankes
    recommendations as well as illustrations in his
    historical research works, is to go directly to
    the first-handed sources, such as memoirs,
    diaries, letters, reports from embassies, and
    original narratives of eyewitnesses. (Ranke,
    1973, P. 137) Hence, strict presentation of
    factsis undoubtedly the supreme law (ibid) in
    Rankes method of historiography..

21
Leopold von Ranke and Modern Historicism The
Reconstructionist Project
  • In general, accordingly to Iggers, the
    scientific orientation of the reconstructionists
    since Leopold von Ranke shared three basic
    assumptions
  • They accepted a correspondence theory truth
    holding that history portrays people who really
    existed and actions that really took place.
  • The presupposed that human actions mirror the
    intentions of the actors and that it is the task
    of the historian to comprehend these intentions
    in order to construct a coherent history story.

22
Leopold von Ranke and Modern Historicism The
Reconstructionist Project
  • shared three basic assumptions
  • They operated with one-dimensional, diachronical
    conception of time, in which later events follow
    early ones in a coherent sequence.
  • The assumptions of the reality, intentionality,
    and temporal sequence determined the structure of
    writing from Ranke well into the twentieth
    century. (Iggers, 1995, P. 3) This school in
    historiography has therefore been characterized
    as the Reconstructions by Alun Munslow (1997),
    while Iggers called the Classical Historicism.
    (1995)

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In Search of the Theory of History The
Constructionists Project
  1. Most of the constructionists in historical
    researches share the presupposition of mediating
    the past with a preconceived theoretical
    framework. As E.H. Carr, one of the key member of
    the camp, stresses the historical evidences
    appear before us are already in the form of
    selectively interpreted facts of the historians.
    They are what Carr called the historians
    facts. Therefore, the social called historical
    facts are practically inseparable with their
    interpretations.

25
In Search of the Theory of History The
Constructionists Project
  1. In Carrs own words, the facts of history never
    come to us pure since they do not and cannot
    exist in a pure form they are always refracted
    through the mind of the recorder. It follows that
    we take up a work of history, our first concern
    should not be with the fact which it contains but
    with the historian who wrote it. (Carr, Quoted
    in Munslow, 1997, Pp.44-45)

26
In Search of the Theory of History The
Constructionists Project
  • Alex Callinicos, another constructionist
    according to Munslow, suggests that one may read
    the work of historians by tracing their theory of
    history with the following constituents
  • A theory of structure An account of the
    fundamental relationship constitutive of a
    particular kind of society
  • A theory of transformation An account of the
    mechanism or mechanisms responsible for social
    changes and fundamental transformation of the
    social structure
  • A theory of directionality
  • Changes (increase/decrease) in some culturally
    significant property
  • Teleological or non-teleological change debate
    on predetermined trajectory and outcomes of
    changes

27
Marxist Constructionist Framework of Historical
Research
  • The theory of structure Theory of class
    exploitation
  • The theory of transformation The historical
    materialism
  • Primary thesis on the relation between force of
    production and relation of production
  • The thesis between the base/infrastructure and
    superstructure
  • The theory of directionality
  • The theory of development of force of production
    and class struggle
  • Teleological theory of change towards communism,
    i.e. classless society

28
Framework of HistoricMax Weber's Constructionist
al Research
  • The theory of structure Theory of domination
  • "Domination refers to a meaningful
    interrelationship between those giving orders and
    those obeying, to the effect that the
    expectations toward which action is oriented on
    both sides can be reckon upon." (1968/78, p.
    1378)

29
Max Weber's Constructionist Framework of
Historical Research
  • The theory of structure Theory of domination
  • Webers two bases of domination
  • (T)here are two diametrically contrasting type
    of domination, viz., domination by virtue of
    constellation of interest (in particular by
    virtue of a position of a monopoly), and
    domination by virtue of authority, i.e. power to
    command and duty to obey. The purest type of the
    former is monopolistic domination in the market
    of the latter, patriarchal, magisterial, or
    princely power. (Weber, 1978, p.942).

30
Max Weber's Constructionist Framework of
Historical Research
  • The theory of structure Theory of domination
  • Webers two bases of domination
  • Monopoly of interest in market sphere
  • Legitimation and authority in political sphere

31
Max Weber's Constructionist Framework of
Historical Research
  • The theory of transformation The multi-causal
    framework of social carriers, intensity of
    actions, conflicts among dominant and assertive
    groups, forces of historical events, technology
    and geography.
  • The theory of directionality perspective
  • Theory of rationalization of the Occident and the
    iron cage of instrumental rationality
  • Non-teleological

32
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
33
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • The ontological framework of sociocultural
    phenomena
  • Essential roles of social carriers in particular
    social fabric and epoch
  • Status groups, classes, universal organizations
    (primary associations), e.g. households, clan,
    neighborhood
  • External structure (secondary association),
    e.g. the states, sects or churches, enterprises,
    and political parties

34
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • The ontological framework
  • The variable intensity of patterned/typical
    action
  • (Webers conception of four types of social
    action means-end rational, value-rational,
    affectual, and traditional action)
  • Forces of historical events, technology, and
    geography in shaping cultural phenomena and
    changes
  • Power of the social carriers and conflict and
    competition among them

35
Technology
Geography
Historical Events
External structure
Social carriers
Typical actions
Intensity
Social carriers
Typical actions
Intensity
Typical actions
Social carriers
36
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • Weber's Conception of Causal Analysis
  • Adequate causation of concrete phenomenon vs.
    nomological causation of universal phenomena
  • Degree of causality distinction among
    facilitating and necessary orientations of
    actions
  • Counterfactual comparison as means to test degree
    of causality of a given set of antecedent
    conditions "favoring" a given effect

37
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • Weber's Conception of Causal Analysis
  • Synchronic and diachronic interactions in causal
    model
  • Syncricahronic (within the present) interaction
    among societal domains
  • Diachronic (between present and past) interaction
    in causal mode
  • Distinction between legacy and antecedent
    conditions
  • Distinction between inter-domain and intra-domain
    diachronic interaction
  • Contextual effects on conjunctural interaction
  • Theoretical framework as ideal type in causal
    mode

38
Technology
Geography
Historical Events
External structure
Social carriers
Typical actions
Intensity
Intensity
Social carriers
Typical actions
Synchronic Interaction
Synchronic Interaction
Intensity
Typical actions
Social carriers
Intensity
Diachronic Interaction
39
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • Max Weber's Conception of Ideal Type as Heuristic
    Instrument in Comparative-Historical Research
  • The nature of ideal type
  • Ideal type is a one-sided accentuation of reality
    and not a schema which can be completely exhaust
    the infinite richness of a cultural phenomenon
  • Ideal type is value-relevant point of view to
    reality and not an objective and complete
    vantage-point to cultural phenomenon
  • Ideal type is dialectic mediator between the
    finite human mind and the infinite reality

40
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • Max Weber's Conception of Ideal Type
  • The Usage of Ideal Type
  • Ideal type is used as yardstick to measure and
    compare the specificity of cultural phenomenon
  • Single ideal type, e.g. means-end rational
    action, bureaucracy, etc.
  • Compound ideal type, e.g. patrimonial bureaucracy

41
Max Webers Comparative-Historical Method
  • Max Weber's Conception of Ideal Type
  • The Usage of Ideal Type .
  • Ideal type is used as hypothesis-forming model
  • Ideal type as dynamic model, e.g. bureaucracy,
    patrimonialism, rationalized education, etc.
  • Ideal type as contextual model, e.g. the impact
    of calculable law on the rise of capitalism in
    Western Europe, the contextual effect of
    stratification principles on education, etc.
  • Ideal type as affinity and antagonism model
  • intra-domain model of antagonistic relationship,
    e.g. antagonistic relationship among bases of
    legitimacy, esp. between legal-rational and
    charismatic authority
  • inter-domain antagonistic relationship, e.g.
    antagonistic relationship between charismatic
    rulership and rational economy, between
    traditional religious identity and rational
    identity with nation-state, etc.
  • inter-domain affinity, e.g. affinity between
    calculable law and rational capitalism, between
    Calvinist doctrine and spirit of capitalism

42
Technology
Geography
Historical Events

External structure

Social carriers
Typical actions

Intensity

Social carriers
Typical actions
Synchronic Interaction
Synchronic Interaction
Intensity
-
Typical actions
Social carriers

Diachronic Interaction
43
Lecture 6Approach to Comparative-Historical
Method (3) Constructionism in Historical
Perspective
END
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