What is the use of social theory to historians, and of history to social theorists? In clear and energetic prose, a pre-eminent cultural historian here offers a far-reaching response to these deceptively simple questions. In this classic text, now revised and updated in its second edition, Peter Burke reviews afresh the relationship between the fields of history and the social sciences and their tentative convergence in recent decades.<br><p> <br><p>Burke first examines what uses historians have made - or might make - of the models, methods, and concepts of the social sciences, and then analyzes some of the intellectual conflicts, such as the opposition between structure and human agency, which are at the heart of the tension between history and social theory. Throughout, he draws from a broad range of cultures and periods to illustrate how history, in turn, has been used to create and validate social theories. This new edition brings the book up to date with the addition of examples and discussions of new topics such as social capital, globalization and post-colonialism.<br><p> <br><p>The second edition of History and Social Theory will continue to stimulate both students and scholars across a range of disciplines with its challenging assessment of the roles of history and social science today.
?This remains an excellent and (still) timely call for greater cross-fertilization between two disciplines that approach the same subject from different but complementary angles. Alongside the quality of the writing and the argument this book provides many useful references on the 'classical' works that have shaped both disciplines. For the relative newcomer as for the specialist this is a reminder of how much we can glean not just from social theory and history today, but also from the social theorists and historians who preceded us.?
?A work of great clarity and wide scope, History and Social Theory offers the reader quick access to the key issues in the field with pithy and focused discussions of its problems, claims, contentions, and work yet to be done.?
Herman Lebovics, SUNY Stony Brook
?This is a really excellent book and should be prescribed reading for any serious student of history or social theory at any teaching level. It should also attract large numbers of admiring general readers.?
Robert W. Scibner, Clare College, Cambridge