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History And Sociology: Transmutations Of Historical Reasoning In The Social Sciences

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Chapter Summary

Social science emerged as a form of reflection on the fundamental transformations that shaped the societal institutions later regarded as characteristic of the modern world. Sociology and the social sciences at large are however characterized by a curious ambivalence in their relationship to history. They tend to portray themselves as part of an effort of human beings to achieve an understanding of the contemporary historical epoch so as to be able to exert an influence on its shape and development. Three key periods leading up to this divergence can be pinpointed. This chapter highlights three components of the renaissance of historical thought in the social sciences. In the present context attention will be focused on three broad strands of research that have exerted a deep-seated and lasting influence on the renaissance of historical thought in the social sciences.

Keywords: contemporary historical epoch; human sciences; social science



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