The Relationship between Sociology and History Essay by BrainC

The Relationship between Sociology and History
This paper raises the question of how far history, with its emphasis on the particular and on individual human factors in causation, can work in harmony with sociology.
# 52557 | 2,135 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Sep 08, 2004 in Sociology (General) , History (General)

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This paper argues that the development of modern historical scholarship away from an emphasis on the individual and towards a recognition of the role of social groups, such as classes and masses and large-scale economic, social, and cultural factors, has brought history and sociology into closer conjunction intellectually and methodologically. The author points out that the strong influence exerted by the academic discipline of sociology upon history during the 1960s was itself very important in bringing about this development in history's methodological approach. The paper stresses that neither sociology nor history should take over the other discipline, but that there is a strong identity in approach and methodology that must be recognized and indeed welcomed as intellectually vibrant.

From the Paper:

"Bernhard J. Stern's observation of 1949 can be seen as an appeal for sociology to work in harmony with history; specifically, for sociologists to inform their work with an understanding of the value of historical context in providing substance to their discipline. This can be seen as an expression of a long-established critique of sociology, from the perspective of history: that it has a tendency to be abstract, to rely excessively on concepts and methodologies detached from the actual contexts of human interaction, even where the empirical study of social relationships is its starting point. For many sociologists this emphasis on abstract universal principles "the "nomothetic" emphasis of sociology" is precisely the discipline's strength and provides part of its reason for existing as a distinct discipline. It can be argued that all social science must strike an analytical balance between the general and the particular, and it has been part of sociology's identity that it has tended to come down on the side of the general."

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