The European Way: European Societies during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

The European Way: European Societies during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

The European Way: European Societies during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

The European Way: European Societies during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Synopsis

A good social history of Europe has yet to be written though, given the developments over the last few decades, this seems more urgent than ever before. This volume presents an important step forward in that it brings together eight internationally known social historians from Europe and Israel, each of whom offer an overview of some key themes in European history during the last two centuries. While dealing with the great changes of this period, the authors reveal the commonalities that link European societies together but also important differences at a national level.

Hartmut Kaelble is Professor of Social History at the Humboldt University, Berlin.

Excerpt

This book gives an overview of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European social history. This is not an easy task. the study of the social history of Europe has intensified in the last thirty years and become an active and accepted field of history. Social history has also changed and broadened distinctly during these years. It started mainly as a history of social classes, of the family and of state intervention in society. It was complemented later by the history of ethnicity, of gender and of identities. It was enlarged more recently by the history of values and individualisation, of religion, by the history of the body and time, by the history of debates, and also by global history. in terms of methods, the study of social history started, to a large degree, as quantitative and structural history. Later, it came to include oral history, the study of ego-documents, and narrative history. More recently, the study of comparisons and transfers, and of discourses and culture, were also integrated into social history. Social history initially joined with sociology, political science and economics. It also later learned very much from ethnology. More recently it has built up further relationships with the history of literature and art history. Social history has continued to be strongly inspired by those topics of political history which can not be treated well enough by a narrow political analysis. At the same time social history was inspired by cultural sciences, and often extended the coverage into fields of cultural history. the challenges and diversification behind these varying changes strongly enriched social history. All these alerations and enlargements are mirrored in the contributions in this volume.

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