Interdisciplinary Contacts and Influences

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INTERDISCIPLINARY CONTACTS AND INFLUENCES

Louise A. Tilly

Contacts and influences between history and other disciplines are not new. Nineteenth-century economics was frequently historical, as the work of Karl Marx shows; Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and Marx, the classical sociological theorists, likewise found their problems in historical change; and political theory took as two of its central concerns how forms of government evolve or modify and how war or natural disasters may change opportunities for states. In short, shared subject matter has a long history. What is different in the interdisciplinary studies that came to the fore starting at the end of the nineteenth century is a self-conscious borrowing of methods and theories, which could only occur once methods were formalized.

Economics, demography, and statistics (and less so, sociology and political science) had developed both more theory and more formal methods by the end of the nineteenth century than had history. In the same period some historians had begun to conceive of history itself as a science. Its central method was finding reliable sources of information and verifying the authenticity of sources by their closeness to the actors, places, and times of the events, institutions, and persons being studied. In Germany, Leopold von Ranke was central to this development; in France, Charles Seignobos. Both of these scholars, as well as the major English historians, defined history as a verifiably objective description of political facts (events and the development of governmental institutions in particular) isolated from their economic and social context. There was also a local history more concerned with small-scale events such as the origins of towns and cities, local government, agriculture, trade, and religion, but it developed apart from academic history and was dismissed as nonscientific and naive. "Social" history, such as it was, focused on daily life, material culture, manners, and morals.


THE PATHS TOWARD INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY

Influenced by Émile Durkheim and his followers' effort to apply the principles of the natural sciences to social facts, the French economist François Simiand challenged the Seignobos school in 1903, attacking the "idols" of history: acceptance of periodization without consideration of its significance and focus on politics and powerful persons rather than on nonpolitical or apolitical groups, institutions, or phenomena. Simiand urged that historians adopt more scientific methods, rigorously defining their problems, collecting and measuring data, analyzing temporal change and spatial correlations, and studying causality rather than chronology. Simiand's own monographs, on wages and social change and economic cycles "à longue période" (both published in 1932), were strictly quantitative, joining the established economic history of prices and wages, but much more ambitious in coverage and periodization. By this time the Annales d'histoire économique et sociale, founded by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre with the help of Henri Berr in 1929, was three years old.

Bloch and Febvre also urged the end of the disciplinary schism between students of past time and those of contemporary societies and economies among historians, economists, and sociologists. They called for a flow of methods and interpretive perspectives among scholars. Their prescription for breaking down barriers and surmounting schism was not methodological or theoretical discussion but exemplary practice ("par le fait "). The Annales would welcome and publish research in many fields and specialties, research unified by a commitment to impartiality. In their own scholarly research and writing, and in the journal, Bloch and Febvre practiced what they preached—Bloch borrowing from economics, geography, and sociology, and Febvre more commonly from social psychology and what later came to be called mentalités. Under their direction, the Annales gave little attention to the continuing theoretical debate about history as science, focusing instead on comparisons among social groups and interdisciplinary borrowings.

In the post–World War II period, the influence of Ernest Labrousse (whose first book, Esquisse du mouvement des prix et des revenus en France au XVIIIe siècle had come out in 1933) and Fernand Braudel grew. The latter, whose encyclopedic survey of the Mediterranean over the longue durée and conceptualization of total history were admired but seldom emulated on the same scale, became editor of Annales. In the course of the 1950s, Labrousse began to send his doctoral students to regional archives to study the social and economic structure of France before and after the Revolution (1700–1850), thus incorporating Braudel's evocation of the long period with his own quantitative approach. The apprentice historians of the Sixth Section (history) of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, where Braudel taught, also incorporated the Annales approach, drawing on human geography (the study of human interaction with the physical environment), reconstructing price and wage series, and incorporating rapidly developing demographic history in their densely documented regional studies from the 1960s onward. Demographic history had become more sophisticated statistically through Louis Henry's development of family reconstitution—a method that could demonstrate changes in patterns of birth, death, and marriage for periods before vital statistics registration or censuses. Family reconstitution revolutionized knowledge of Old Regime demography and became a component of the regional and local studies of French social historians.

In English history, interdisciplinary approaches (other than economic history, which was well established by the beginning of the twentieth century) arrived by at least two paths. One was exemplified by the formation of a new journal, Past and Present, in early 1952. Its board of editors, which included several important Marxist historians, avowed that it would not shirk controversy. Echoing Karl Marx's words from the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, the editors wrote in the first issue, "Men are active and conscious makers of history, not merely its passive victims." They also objected to the indiscriminate borrowing of ideas from social science, specifically "the structural-functional approach as developed in contemporary sociology." Their goal was to "widen the somewhat narrow horizon of traditional historical studies among the English-speaking public" and to follow the historical example of Bloch and Febvre, eschewing "methodological articles and theoretical dissertations" and making their point "by example and fact." In the 1960s the initial Marxist perspective became less evident; in its place a variety of interdisciplinary approaches became customary.

The other English path to interdisciplinarity had been laid out earlier by Lewis Namier, who pioneered the interdisciplinary method of prosopography, or collective biography, a protostatistical approach. Through such an analysis, one could discover variation along group characteristics like age, social class or status, family connections, origins of wealth, or political patronage. Interested in heighteenth-century politics, Namier chose to look closely at the House of Commons, "that invaluable microcosmic picture of England." He gathered biographical detail about the men elected to the Parliament of 1761, their constituencies, and their political sponsors, as well as mentions in parliamentary or private records of other political figures great and small, and analyzed his data by simple statistical methods, mostly cross-tabulations. The information he generated about patronage and connections cast light on the politics of the government and Parliament in the period following the election.

In 1965 Lawrence Stone published his massive prosopographic study of members of the peerage in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, drawing on private archives that had recently been made available to historians. As a result his evidence was much richer than Namier's. His goal was first to "describe the total environment of an élite, material and economic, ideological and cultural, educational and moral; and [second] . . . to chart the course of a crisis in the affairs of this élite that was to have a profound effect upon the evolution of English political institutions" (Stone, 1965, pp. 7–8). The crisis, of course, was the rising importance of the House of Commons in politics and the temporary eclipse of the peerage in the period of revolution and Commonwealth. The Restoration and Glorious Revolution restored the standing of the peerage, but its political influence was tempered by those events, with long-term consequences for the English political system and class structure.

Also in England by the 1960s, scholars interested in demography, such as E. A. Wrigley, Peter Laslett, and Roger Schofield—leaders of what became the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure—began family reconstitution methods like the French, which showed that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries typical households were small, consisting of a nuclear family and perhaps servants and including three generations or more distant kin less often than had been believed. They also found a surprisingly high degree of geographic mobility, especially of young people, including children, who moved to become servants or apprentices.

Much of the "new social history" of the 1960s and 1970s drew its inspiration from sociology and other social sciences, but not all of it was friendly to interdisciplinarity. E. P. Thompson's Making of the English Working Class (1963) became one of the classics of modern social history and a model for labor and social historians over the ensuing decades. But despite its innovation in seeking out new sources for English working-class history such as police records (cautiously utilized) and popular religious literature, The Making is less explicitly interdisciplinary in its approach than the studies already described. Indeed, Thompson's preface contains an irritable attack (echoing that of Past and Present's editors) on sociology and specifically on the sociologist Neil Smelser's study of cotton textile industrialization and family relations. Nevertheless, Thompson's affectionate exposition of the ways of life of various groups of workers can be seen as a kind of retrospective ethnography, and in later writings he acknowledged the relationship of anthropology to his work.

In the United States, economic historians such as Robert Fogel and Albert Fishlow, questioning the importance of railroads in American economic development, had begun to use computers to perform complex statistical analyses on historical data assembled from business and local government records. Political historians such as Lee Benson and Allan Bogue collected local electoral records and ecological data and analyzed them with the help of computers, and William O. Aydelotte began a similar project with British parliamentary voting records. American historians of Europe adopted the interdisciplinary methods of studying social structure, patterns of population change, economic conditions, and associational politics (parties, elections, labor unions, social movements, and reform). Questions about colonial demography and family life were explored by John Demos and Philip Greven. And Stephan Thernstrom pursued distinctively American questions about nineteenth-century social mobility with the help of computer-analyzed nominal census data. By 1966 the Times Literary Supplement could devote the larger part of three issues to "New Ways in History," highlighting the advances of interdisciplinary approaches. Interdisciplinary collaboration was promoted by the strong historical interests of many European sociologists, such as British researchers dealing with family sociology, which facilitated interaction beyond uses of quantitative methods.

Interdisciplinary work was not always welcomed by the established journals of the time, however. Rather, its publication depended on newer journals. Comparative Studies in Society and History, the first United States journal of interdisciplinary history, had been founded by the economic historian Sylvia Thrupp in 1958. As suggested by its title, the journal's chief focus was comparisons, not interdisciplinarity, but as the title also indicates, both cross-sectional and temporal comparisons drawing on history and social science fields like sociology and anthropology were envisioned by the editorial board, which included scholars in both those fields as well as historians. In 1967 the Journal of Social History was launched by Peter Stearns. The journal has been eclectic and open, and as definitions of social history have become more inclusive, new methods and subjects have been incorporated.

Interdisciplinary history received its name in 1970, when the Journal of Interdisciplinary History began publication. (The International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences [1968] discussed comparative method and studies but had no entry in its index for "interdisciplinary" method, theory, or studies.) The concept of interdisciplinarity had earlier been integral in teaching and research programs in area studies and American studies, but in the late 1960s and the 1970s it proliferated in black or African American studies, women's studies, religious studies, and numerous similar new programs. The declared intent of the founding editors (both historians and social scientists) of the journal was to be "catholic both conceptually and geographically," yet to "guard against faddishness, the all-too-easy appropriation of inappropriate techniques ...; the confusion of technical mastery with the effective use of such mastery; . . . the temptations of jargon," and so on (Rotberg and Rabb, 1970, pp. 4–5). The American journals devoted to the newly interdisciplinary history quickly found a place on historians' reading lists.

A group of historians and political scientists who specialized in United States history took the initiative to convene other interdisciplinary scholars to found the Social Science History Association in 1974 and its journal, Social Science History, the first issue of which was published in fall 1976. The purpose of the organization, the editors of its journal wrote, was to improve "the quality of historical explanation by encouraging the selective use and adaptation in teaching and in research of relevant theories and methods from the social science disciplines." They also welcomed historical comparisons, and declared their "total commitment to . . . systematic contact and interchange of ideas between kindred spirits in history and in the social sciences" ("Editors' Foreword," 1976, pp. i–ii). The organization, which began with a strong tilt within its leadership toward United States quantitative political history, encouraged wide participation in governance, including planning the program of the yearly conference. Over the years, the disciplinary distribution of the leadership and members has shifted away from American politics to a much more eclectic mix of interests. The association has drawn wide participation from European scholars, dealing with topics like demography and crime, and from researchers concerned with European topics.


A DECADE OF INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY AND A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE

In 1980 (its tenth anniversary), the Journal of Interdisciplinary History convened a conference, "The New History: The 1980s and Beyond"; articles reporting on the various subfields appeared in two issues (vol. 12, nos. 1 and 2, summer and autumn 1981). Overall, the articles on specific fields reflect a decline in interest in and use of quantitative methods in political and family history, but a reaffirmation of the importance of political history; continued confidence in the value of quantitative methods for periods in which qualitative evidence is scarce (medieval history and population history); a call for greater development of psychohistory; a flight from the most technically sophisticated type of econometric history, and new efforts to bring economic history closer to historians' concern with the diversity of human behavior; strong interest in anthropology and history but no consensus about possible approaches to interdisciplinary historical anthropological studies; linkage of concepts of "the construction by human beings of meaning" (formerly the concern of intellectual historians) with other histories and anthropology; and an understanding of science and its history as an aspect of culture.

The journal's coeditor Theodore K. Rabb concluded in "Towards the Future" that as a form of knowledge, history had lost its coherence, but that had been so for some time. What historians could agree upon, he continued, was that materialist concerns had shrunk compared to the previous decade and that there are different paths to meaning. Nevertheless, historians share standards for judging the quality of a historical work.


EXEMPLARY WORKS IN INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY TO THE EARLY 1980s

Some of the major works that were produced up to the early 1980s in interdisciplinary European history may be classified into three categories: major efforts to answer very large, basic questions in interdisciplinary ways that give the authors the opportunity to claim a place as the most general and powerful combination of disciplines; collaborations at the borders between social science and history, in which social science middle-level theories and methods are borrowed with results that better address questions in both disciplines; and confrontations between history and social science disciplines, in which differences in perspective produce a dynamic tension that permits new insights. The last of these will not be discussed because it occurs less often in research projects than in teaching courses that aspire to interdisciplinarity.

Candidates for the first category, the imperialist claims of major works to be the do-all, end-all interdisciplinary combination, are relatively rare. Time on the Cross (1974), Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman's effort to answer many of the long-standing major questions about slavery in the American South, is a good example. The two volumes (one describing the findings, the second a technical exposition of methods and quantitative measures) were the result of an immense effort to collect, code, and analyze data from plantation and government records. Their provocative findings aroused controversy among both economic historians and southern historians, who challenged the results in book reviews, articles, and two volumes of collected essays. Similar claims for methodological superiority and definitive answers were made for behavioralist theories in political science and structural-functionalist sociology; most of the authors of these types of studies were social scientists, political scientists, and sociologists who tended to feature theoretical discussion, rather than historians. Robert Berkhofer's proposal in A Behavioral Approach to Historical Analysis (1969) that historians adopt behavioral theories and the methods developed to study human behavior in social science (psychology, sociology, and anthropology) was read by historians, but its recommendations were seldom adopted.

Studies in the second category are all from social history, which has been characterized by a concern with ordinary people in the past, or "history from below," as Peter Stearns put it. Its basic method has been collective "biography," the assembling of standardized descriptions of individuals into a set—like the pioneering English prosopographies—which can be analyzed for variation and commonalities. The units to be analyzed are not necessarily individuals; they may be events like strikes, groups like families, or categories like occupations. The earliest works in interdisciplinary family history, such as The World We Have Lost (1965), were demographically informed but offered little demographic analysis. In that study, Peter Laslett reminded his readers of some common misconceptions of the demography of the period, such as that youthful marriage was common (it was limited to the upper classes), and emphasized the fragility of life for young and old because of frequent epidemics. Laslett also edited the volume Household and Familyin Past Time: Comparative Studies in the Size and Structure of the Domestic Group (1972), which reported comparative studies of household size (based on census-type listings mostly from Europe). A chapter by the anthropologist Jack Goody raised a gentle warning based on his fieldwork in West Africa: notions in the past and in other cultures of a "household" were not necessarily equivalent to the later census concept of those eating and sleeping under the same roof. Others pointed out as well that the composition of the household would vary with the age of the head and of its members. Indeed, studies designed to investigate the questions raised by Goody later undercut the simple picture based on census-type listings.

David Levine's comparative study of three English villages from 1600 to 1851, Family Formations in an Age of Nascent Capitalism (1977), based on family reconstitution for the earlier part of the period, discovered changes in demographic behavior such as an earlier age of marriage and higher fertility in one village when its economic base was transformed from agriculture to nonmechanized framework knitting. The other villages experienced less economic change and were characterized by correspondingly less modification in family formation and fertility. There, youths who could find no work in their native village migrated to find work.

The sociologist Michael Anderson's study of industrialized England, Family Structure in Nineteenth-Century Lancashire (1971), examined the household economics of textile worker households in a small city during the twin processes of industrialization and rural to urban migration as an application of sociological exchange theory. Anderson traced the relationship between structural constraints and family relations. Although he used nominal census lists as his source, Anderson examined the internal dynamics of families, not simply their structure. He chose a historical moment in which families were experiencing far-reaching change in life both at home and work, so that the context would be part of the problem. He concluded that continuity marked rural families' experience of industrial factory work. Newly industrial households cooperated in migration, job finding, and pooling income. Tamara Hareven's Family Time and Industrial Time: The Relationship between the Family and Work in a New England Industrial Community (1982) added oral history to the kinds of economic and demographic structural evidence used by Levine and Anderson. Her work borrowed methods from anthropology as well.

Another large category of early interdisciplinary studies examined productive work and workers and their politics in the past. E. J. Hobsbawm and George Rudé, well-known historians of labor and protest, collaborated in Captain Swing (1968), a study of the English agricultural laborers' protest of 1830, drawing on an epidemiological model. They drew on geography as well to map the process by which protest spread among farm laborers and then to workers in rural manufacturing. Joan Scott's Glassworkers of Carmaux: French Craftsmen and Political Action in a Nineteenth-Century City (1974) combined Marxist theory with social science methods, studying demographic change through family reconstitution, which indicated increased putting down of roots by glassworkers' households at the end of the nineteenth century, as the men's earlier customary craft migration was ended by changing technology and organization of work in the glass industry. Settling in Carmaux, glassworkers modified their forms of organization and of collective action, mounting a successful strike.


INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY, 1980 TO THE PRESENT

The post-1980 period was characterized by four changes in interdisciplinary history: the emergence and rapid development of new subjects for investigation, in particular women's history, which itself was quickly supplemented by studies of gender; fewer purely materialist and structural interpretations and the rise of cultural ones, either supplementing the former or replacing them; a shift in the disciplines to which historians turned for methods and theory from demography, sociology, and economics to to cultural anthropology, literary criticism, linguistics, and philosophy, in particular regarding questions about power and the construction of meaning; and vigorous and proliferating debate about historical method and theory.

A work in the prosopographic tradition of social history is Bonnie G. Smith's Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the Nineteenth Century (1981), which also exemplifies an ethnographic approach. Smith portrayed the ideology of spheres as the sociocultural framework for bourgeois women's lives. Over the course of the century, these women came to be concerned almost exclusively with the family and home; these institutions shaped their values and behavior. Nancy Hewitt demonstrated, in Women's Activism and Social Change: Rochester, New York, 1822–1872 (1984), also a prosopographic study, that there were cultural (religious) and subtle class differences even among middle-class women. Following up on calls for attention to gender (the social construction of sex), historians of working-class women looked at cooperation and rivalries between men and women workers at home and at work. Patricia A. Cooper's Once a Cigar Maker: Men, Women, and Work Culture in American Cigar Factories (1987) exemplifies this approach. Cooper distinguished between male work culture, which stressed autonomy, manliness, and control over the work process, and women's more isolated identity, often burdened as well with their obligations at home. As conditions of work changed, so too did women's identity, as they became conscious of common interests with men workers.

Parallel developments occurred in English women's history, exemplified by a major study, Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall's Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850 (1987), which ambitiously addressed not only gender relations but class formation. Focusing on family, Davidoff and Hall were alert to gender differences, showing how ambitious men were embedded in familial (usually female) support as they built careers and rose in the world. However, over the time period studied, the authors noted that because of women's disadvantaged position vis-à-vis accumulating capital and political participation, their world shrank to the domestic sphere exclusively. Davidoff and Hall also examined middle-class women's roles as writers of popular fiction in prescribing the ideology of spheres and as church members in passing down religious values in the family. Gay Gullickson's Spinners and Weavers of Auffay: Rural Industry and the Sexual Division of Labor in a French Village, 1750–1850 (1986) reconstructed families in order to understand the household division of labor by sex and explored the way of life of the village. All of these historians of gender combined social-structural investigations of the social history type and gender analysis, which drew more on anthropological, cultural, and philosophical concepts.

In "Gender: A Useful Category for Historical Analysis" (1986), Joan Scott made a case for abandoning social history altogether, at least insofar as it rests upon the analysis of social-structurally defined categories of historical populations. For her, gender as an analytical category centered on meaning, power, and agency: "Gender is a constitutive element of social relationships based on perceived differences between the sexes, and gender is a primary way of signifying relations of power" (Scott, 1986, p. 1067). She called for "a genuine historicization and deconstruction of the terms of sexual difference . . . analyzing in context the way binary opposition operates, reversing and displacing its hierarchical construction, rather than accepting it as real or self-evident or in the nature of things" (pp. 1065–1066). Of the studies that have been published following Scott's prescriptions, one which made a particularly seamless argument combining a structural framework and cultural analysis is Kathleen Canning's Languages of Labor and Gender: Female Factory Work in Germany, 1850–1914 (1996). Canning's presentation of evidence about the organization of work and how women were represented by their employers—in the way that they were disciplined, the hierarchies of skill and wages—and by philanthropic institutions effectively supported her argument.

Examples of combined methodologies can of course be found outside women's and gender history as well. William H. Sewell Jr.'s Work and Revolution in France: The Language of Labor from the Old Regime to 1848 (1980), for example, combined an interpretive narrative account of the changing institutional framework around artisanal production in Old Regime, revolutionary, and nineteenth-century France with an anthropologically informed study of the language with which French workers discussed their work and themselves.

Growing use of anthropology showed also in a variety of projects dealing with early modern European social history, where anthropological models for studying rituals and phenomena such as witchcraft were widely deployed. By the 1980s and 1990s, this interdisciplinary activity extended to the use of cultural studies theories and models, for modern as well as early modern social-cultural history. These developments both reflected and furthered the "cultural turn" in European social history.

Alf Lüdtke, Hans Medick, and David Sabean, who worked together at the Max Planck Institute for History in Göttingen, Germany, individually and together drew on similar concepts from anthropology. Although all three had written history strongly influenced by sociological theory, Medick and Sabean had become interested in the cultural context of family history and demography by the late 1970s and 1980s. The chapters in their coedited volume, Interest and Emotion: Essays on the Study of Family and Kinship (1984), combined structural and anthropological cultural approaches in different ways. Sabean also published three monographic works that continued the combined approach: Power in the Blood: Popular Culture and Village Discourse in Early Modern Germany (1984), Property, Production, and Family in Neckarhausen (1990), and Kinship in Neckarhausen, 1700–1870 (1998). The first of these studies was the one most fully influenced by cultural approaches, while the second was rather more structural but still concerned with discourse and social relationships, and the last used formal procedures borrowed from the anthropology of kinship but generalized in its final chapters about relationships between kinship and gender.

Medick too published a village monograph, Weben und Überleben in Laichingen 1650–1900: Lokalgeschichte als Allgemeine Geschichte (1996), but he and Lüdtke rejected to a greater extent than had Sabean the social-structuralism of much German social history. In a sometimes angry debate with Jürgen Kocka and Hans-Ulrich Wehler, the senior German academic exponents of structuralist, often quantitative social history, Medick and Lüdtke became advocates for Alltagsgeschichte (history of everyday life), which draws heavily on cultural anthropology. The debate has swirled around sensitive topics like the history of ordinary people in the Nazi period, but the essays in the one translated collection (edited by Lüdtke) of the group's work, The History of Everyday Life: Reconstructing Historical Experiences and Ways of Life (1995), strongly resembled what in the United States might be called politically left sociocultural history. The topic was ordinary people's lives, but the framework was explicitly political. (The essays also have a good deal in common with articles published in the English History Workshop Journal, founded in 1976 with the subtitle "A Journal of Socialist Historians," later modified to "Socialist and Feminist Historians." History Workshop has not been discussed here because it has not been consciously interdisciplinary, nor have article authors usually drawn self-consciously on social science or other disciplines.)

The fourth characteristic of post-1980s interdisciplinary historical scholarship is the proliferation of articles and books discussing theory and method. One book may stand in for the long list of titles—The Historic Turn in the Human Sciences (1996), edited by Terrence J. McDonald. Although the title of this collection of essays reversed the turn of history to interdisciplinarity since the 1960s, the individual chapters by historians looked in both directions. To the degree that there was consensus among the authors, they detected (or recommended) a turning away among both historians and social scientists from scientistic approaches. Illustrative of this point of view is the chapter by William H. Sewell Jr., "Three Temporalities: Toward an Eventful Sociology." The three temporalities described here were teleological temporality (exemplified by Immanuel Wallerstein's world system analysis), Charles Tilly's temporal frame of the "master processes of history" (capitalist development and state formation), and Theda Skocpol's "experimental temporality" (comparison of cases as a "natural experiment"). To these failed efforts Sewell opposed "eventful temporality," which he illustrated by discussing works by two younger sociologists, Mark Traugott and Howard Kimeldorf, in which chronological explanatory narrative, contingency, and the recognition that "all social processes are path dependent" avoided the pitfalls of teleology. Sewell noted in his conclusion that both Wallerstein and Tilly had taken steps in this direction.

Sewell's theoretical essay points to a potential for bringing sociology and history closer together again, but the work he advocated may seem too much like description for most sociologists to accept. What is needed now is greater experimentation with different epistemological approaches that fulfill Bloch and Febvre's goal of writing history "par le fait."



See alsoSocial Class; Collective Action (volume 3);Gender History; Kinship (volume 4); and other articles in this section.

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