Microhistory and Society Analytical Essay by Nicky

This paper discusses microhistory as a tool to study social and cultural perspectives of a period of time.
# 146000 | 775 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Dec 12, 2010 in Sociology (General) , History (General) , Political Science (General)

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In this article, the writer notes that a relatively recent trend in the study of history is the application of an approach newly titled microhistory. The writer explains that just like the term sounds, microhistory consists of studying and recording events at a micro level in the hopes that doing so will give a more insightful view of a period of social, political and cultural history at any given place. The writer discusses that microhistory also has the characteristic of bringing the researcher and the reader closer to the socio-emotional characteristic of how individuals may have interacted and been affected by broader events occurring around them. The writer concludes that though both traditional history and microhistory could be said to skew reality, each offers a perspective that results in a greater understanding of the character of history and many would argue that microhistory does so in a more engaging and less academic manner, even though it uses many of the same documents as more traditional histories.

From the Paper:

"One of the first to come on the scene was The Return of Martin Guerre, published in 1983 and written by Natalie Zemon Davis, chronicling the life of a 16th century man returning from war into provincial France and assuming the identity of another man. The relatively academic work written about this one man and all the social and emotional affects and effects of his legal assumption of another man's life was even made into a film and reached significant acclaim. The work gives significant insight into the emotional toll that the legal system of ownership and inheritance played on the life of a small lower middle class family. The work is insigntful in many ways, as it develops a keener sense of a period where the majority of historical works are written about broader social, legal and cultural issues, often coming across as significantly generalized. Additionally, the period also marks a period in history when much of the work is written about the upper classes as they left the most records. Yet, in seeking out more mundane examples the author demonstrates that scale made little difference in issue s of inheritance and smaller scale economies in a family may have actually made things more competitive and effective as each sought to develop a smaller piece of the economic pie into which they were born, through creativity, knowledge and marriage."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ginzburg, Carlos, The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller Johns Baltimore, Maryland: Hopkins University Press 1992.
  • Nalle, Sara Tilghman. Mad for God: Bartolome Sanchez: The Secret Messiah of Cardenete Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia 2001.
  • Putnam, Lara. "To Study the Fragments/Whole: Microhistory and the Atlantic World." Journal of Social History 39.3 (2006): 615.
  • Zemon Davis, Natalie, The Return of Martin Guerre, London, UK: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Microhistory and Society (2010, December 12) Retrieved August 13, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/microhistory-and-society-146000/

MLA Format

"Microhistory and Society" 12 December 2010. Web. 13 August. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/microhistory-and-society-146000/>