History of Concepts: Comparative Perspectives by Iain Hampsher-Monk, Karin Tilmans, Frank van Vree

By Iain Hampsher-Monk, Karin Tilmans, Frank van Vree

Although greatly influential in German-speaking Europe, conceptual background (Begriffsgeschichte) has beforehand acquired little consciousness in English. This style of highbrow heritage differs from either the French historical past of mentalités and the Anglophone background of discourses through positing the idea that - the foremost occupier of important syntactical area - because the item of old investigation.

Contributions by way of distinct practitioners and critics of conceptual heritage from Europe and the USA illustrate either the individuality and variety of the genre.

The first a part of the ebook is dedicated to the origins and identification of the sector, in addition to methodological concerns. half provides exemplary reports focusing both on a selected inspiration (such as Maurizio Viroli's 'Reason of the State') or a selected method of conceptual background (e.g. Bernard Scholz for literary feedback and Terence Ball for political science). the ultimate, so much cutting edge component to the ebook seems at innovations and paintings - excessive, bourgeois and demotic. the following Bram Kempers discusses the conceptual historical past of Raphael's frescos within the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican; Eddy de Jongh examines the linguistic personality of a lot Dutch style portray; and Rolf Reichardt considers the conceptual constitution implicit in card video games of the French Revolution, used to induct these at the margins of literacy into the recent progressive world-view.

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With all the difference in style, approach and sources inevitable in a collective work of these dimensions, one can not but conclude that a large number of the entries in the Handbuch bardy comply, if at alL with the sot:ial historical programme Reichardt formulates in the Introduction to the series. Reichardt begged to differ from the older notions in the history of ideas he felt were being adhered to in the Geschichtfiche Grundbegri}fi. Lengthy quotes from well-known authors were strung together, he noted, disregarding the question how representative they were of society.

For what history does not deal with the relationships between human beings, with all forms of social intercourse or with social stratifications, so that the designation social history may stake an irrefutable - as it were, anthropological - permanent claim that lies behind every form of history? Moreover, what history could exist that did not have to be conceived as such before developing into history? In this way, the study of concepts and their linguistic history is as much a minimum requirement for the very recognition of history as the definition that it deal~ with human society Historical Overview Both social history and Begriffigeschichte have existed as explicit approaches since the Enlightenment and its discovery of the historical world: that age when the social formations that had existed up until that point began to crumble and, at the same time, linguistic reflection fell under the transformative pressure of a history that was itself experienced and articulated as novel.

They represent, then, particular aspects of the past. h IS a different matter with social history and Begrijfigeschichte. Arising from their very theoretical self-justification emerge~ a claim to a universality that may extend to and compass all historical speciaJisms. For what history does not deal with the relationships between human beings, with all forms of social intercourse or with social stratifications, so that the designation social history may stake an irrefutable - as it were, anthropological - permanent claim that lies behind every form of history?

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