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This wide-ranging and original study reveals how prevalent modernism has become in the social sciences. With contributions from a number of leading international scholars, Modernism and the Social Sciences explores the rise and nature of modernist tropes and approaches within social sciences such as economics, econometrics, behaviourism, sociology, administrative science, linguistics, history and anthropology. The essays demonstrate how the social sciences turned away from the developmental historicisms of the nineteenth century. Instead, social scientists have become increasingly committed to synchronic and formal explanations that rely on models, correlations and ideal types, and they have increasingly appealed to systems and functions and to institutions and norms. This book will reveal wider trends and parallels to specialists in particular disciplines and it will also appeal to those interested in intellectual history and social science theory. This volume is a companion to Historicism and the Human Sciences in Britain, a product of the Mellon project on Britain's Modernity, published by Cambridge in 2017.
Historicism and the Human Sciences in Victorian Britain explores the rise and nature of historicist thinking about such varied topics as life, race, character, literature, language, economics, empire, and law. The contributors show that the Victorians typically understood life and society as developing historically in a way that made history central to their intellectual inquiries and their public culture. Although their historicist ideas drew on some Enlightenment themes, they drew at least as much on organic ideas and metaphors in ways that lent them a developmental character. This developmental historicism flourished alongside evolutionary motifs and romantic ideas of the self. The human sciences were approached through narratives, and often narratives of reason and progress. Life, individuals, society, government, and literature all unfolded gradually in accord with underlying principles, such as those of rationality, nationhood, and liberty. This book will appeal to those interested in Victorian Britain, historiography, and intellectual history.
The article offers an interpretive approach to understanding Jim Bulpitt's Territory and Power in the United Kingdom. The first two parts interpret Bulpitt's text by locating it respectively in its historical and contemporaneous contexts. It argues that Territory and Power belongs in a broader movement to rethink the state in a way that accommodates the rise of new behavioural topics. Territory and Power also defends modernist empiricist approaches to institutions and other mid-level topics against the positivism and general theories of behaviouralism. The final part points to an interpretive approach to the state as an alternative to the behaviouralism and institutionalism that lurk behind Bulpitt's ideas. A thoroughly interpretive approach would decentre territory and power, revealing them to be contingent and shifting products of struggles over meanings.
Pluralism is among the most vital intellectual movements of the modern era. Liberal pluralism helped reinforce and promote greater separation of political and religious spheres. Socialist pluralism promoted the political role of trade unions and the rise of corporatism. Empirical pluralism helped legitimate the role of interest groups in democratic government. Today pluralism inspires thinking about key issues such as multiculturalism and network governance. However, despite pluralism's importance, there are no histories of twentieth-century pluralist thinking. Modern Pluralism fills this gap. It explores liberal, socialist, and empirical ideas about diversity in Britain and the United States. It shows how pluralists challenged homogenous nations and sovereign states, often promoting sub-national groups as potential sites of self-government. In it, intellectual historians, political theorists, and social scientists collectively explore the historical background to present institutions and debates. The book serves to enrich our understanding of the history of pluralism and its continuing relevance.