Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods

Paperback | July 2, 1999

byMiles Fairburn

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This book critically analyzes the methodological problems encountered in the study of social history, providing a full assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of both the conventional and more innovative methods devised to resolve them. Drawing examples from some of the classic works in the discipline, Miles Fairburn examines the nature, varieties, schools and evolution of social history. Comprehensive and lucid, this is an original and accessible guide.

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This book critically analyzes the methodological problems encountered in the study of social history, providing a full assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of both the conventional and more innovative methods devised to resolve them. Drawing examples from some of the classic works in the discipline, Miles Fairburn examines the na...

Miles Fairburn is Professor of History at Canterbury University in New Zealand.

other books by Miles Fairburn

The Ideal Society and Its Enemies: The Foundations of Modern New Zealand Society, 1850 1900
The Ideal Society and Its Enemies: The Foundations of M...

Kobo ebook|Dec 1 1989

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:335 pages, 8.56 × 5.28 × 0.75 inPublished:July 2, 1999Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031222124X

ISBN - 13:9780312221249

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Customer Reviews of Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Detailed Crash Course in Historical Theory This book was on my reading list for school, for my historical methods class. I am a Masters student in historical studies. First and foremost, I want to congratulate Dr. Fairburn on this detailed book. He covers a wide range of topics, anywhere from social category to modes of enquiry, to challenging modernist "old-history", as he describes it. His examples are typically scholarly books that have usually been upheld as great works in their given historical field. His next step is to deconstruct the methods behind these works and discuss strengths and weaknesses related to the chapter's topic. From a historical standpoint, this effectively conveys a sense that no history is static or "true" but it also shows the reader that they have the power to operate within historical framework to find ways of pacifying certain biases, roadblocks, or shortcomings. Additionally, this method he employs illustrates just how fluid history is, and how it is technically not grounded in time or society. He seems to share a lot of relativist standpoints, which deconstructed the discipline, but he also tries his best to offer practical remedies to these problems. Another group of strong areas in his work are his detailed glossary, his further reading section, and his simple rhetorical "frankness" that is blunt and does not lead the reader in circles. His definitions are firm and concise, his tone is confident and calculating, and it is easy to see the objectives of any given chapter because he specifies his methodology before he begins diving into actual content. These areas made his book relatively straightforward. I think on the whole Dr. Fairburn tries his best to include honest examples and stay true to himself and the historical community. He is never bashful of other authors, and only treats his text as a forum to frankly discuss history. This is a useful staple for an aspiring historian!
Date published: 2014-09-15

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction * The Problem of Absent Social Categories * The Problem of Generalizing from Fragmentary Evidence * Some Solutions for the Problem of Fragmentary Evidence * The Problem of Establishing Important Causes * The Problem of Establishing Similarities and Differences--of Lumping and Splitting * To Count or Not to Count? * The Problem of Socially-Constructed Evidence * The Problem of Appropriate Concepts * The Problem of Determining the Best Explanation