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The History of Political and Social Concepts : A Critical Introduction - Melvin Richter

The History of Political and Social Concepts

A Critical Introduction

Hardcover Published: 7th September 1995
ISBN: 9780195088267
Number Of Pages: 224

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Since the 1960s, German scholars have developed distinctive methods for writing the history of political, social, and philosophical concepts. Applied to France as well as Germany, their work has set new standards for the historical study of political and social language, Begriffsgeschichte. The questions these scholars address, and the methods they apply systematically to a broad range of sources, differ as much from the styles of Hegel, Dilthey, and Meinecke as from those of A.O. Lovejoy, J.G.A. Pocock, and Quentin Skinner.
Begriffsgeschichte treats political language neither as autonomous discourse, nor as the product of ideology, social structure, or elite manipulation. Although conceptual historians agree that the field of action is defined by language, they place concept formation and use within historical contexts. By surveying political and social discourses systematically, this genre traces how the great modern revolutions have been conceptualized in sharply contested forms by competing political and social formations, as well as by individual thinkers. Combining intellectual with social history, historians of concepts track linguistically the advent, mentalities, and effects of modernity.
In The History of Political and Social Concepts, Melvin Richter analyzes the theories which have generated conceptual history, and their reinterpretation of key concepts such as Max Weber's three types of legitimate Herrschaft, and that of civilitAA] in France. What is it that we know when we learn the history of a concept? What difference does it make that we know it? After assessing the programs and achievements of Begriffsgeschichte, the author argues the need for an analogous project to chart the careers of political and social concepts used in English-speaking societies. Addressed not only to historians of political and social thought, this work will interest students and scholars of political culture, social historians, and historians of ideas, historiography, law, language, and rhetoric.

Industry Reviews

"Closely related to the history of ideas and of culture, Begriffsgeschichte (the history of concepts) is distinctive in focusing on how specific terms change their meaning over time. Richter introduces English-speaking readers to different approaches to this subject that have developed, especially in Germany, in recent decades."--Choice "Lucidly written and judicious in its evaluations, this book will reach beyond German Studies, drawing the attention of non-German specialists to important theoretical developments in the Federal Republic."--German Politics and Society "Richter's contribution is both persuasive and welcome."--Times Literatry Supplement "Richter's book is admirably perceptive, precise, balanced, lucid and concise"--History of European Ideas "Lucidly written and judicious in its evaluations, this book will reach beyond German Studies, drawing the attention of non-German specialists to imprtant theoretical developments in the Federal Republic."--German Politics and Society "This work challenges historians throughout the world to begin a critical dialogue between those practicing one or another form of the linguistic turn...and social historians, who are themselves completely reconstructing their subject."--Annales "Closely related to the history of ideas and of culture, Begriffsgeschichte (the history of concepts) is distinctive in focusing on how specific terms change their meaning over time. Richter introduces English-speaking readers to different approaches to this subject that have developed, especially in Germany, in recent decades."--Choice "Lucidly written and judicious in its evaluations, this book will reach beyond German Studies, drawing the attention of non-German specialists to important theoretical developments in the Federal Republic."--German Politics and Society "Richter's contribution is both persuasive and welcome."--Times Literatry Supplement "Richter's book is admirably perceptive, precise, balanced, lucid and concise"--History of European Ideas "Lucidly written and judicious in its evaluations, this book will reach beyond German Studies, drawing the attention of non-German specialists to imprtant theoretical developments in the Federal Republic."--German Politics and Society "Richter's worthwile book merits the attention of those interested in the methodology of the history of social and political thought."--Ethics "...the book stands on its own as an informative contribution to our understanding of the German movement."--American Historical Review "This book is an admirably lucid critical introduction to the history of concepts or conceptual history....This richly argued book is highly recommended."--The European Legacy

Introductionp. 3
Charting the History of Political and Social Conceptsp. 9
The Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Relating Political and Social Concepts to Structural Changep. 26
The History of the Concept of Herrschaft in the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffep. 58
The Place of Concepts in the History of Mentalites: The Handbuch of French Political and Social Conceptsp. 79
Innovation and Critique in the Handbuchp. 99
Pocock, Skinner, and Begriffsgeschichtep. 124
"By the Sufferance of Wise Men": A Call for a History of Political and Social Concepts in Englishp. 143
Concepts Treated in the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffep. 161
Concepts Treated in the Handbuchp. 165
Notesp. 169
Indexp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195088267
ISBN-10: 0195088263
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 7th September 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.47 x 16.2  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.56

Earn 269 Qantas Points
on this Book