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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 10:26
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Nope. It influences their view of history. It doesn't influence their history. For instance it makes no difference to whether they had measles as a child or not. Depending on their context they may think it a good thing they had it or a bad thing they had it but what they think makes no difference to whether they had it or not.
 
I think Marx et al. would have a big problem with this assertion.  The material conditions in which people operate actively influence historical experience and consciousness.
Of course the material conditions in which people operate influence their experience and consciousness, not just in regard to history and how they perceive is but in regard
to wnything else. This was why I originally said the statement was trivial.
 
However I fail to see that Marx would have considered it a matter of someone's moral or economic or historical viewpoint and context whether they had had measles as a child or not. 
 
Marx certainly considered the economic circumstances of any period/location to be factual determinants of what happened in them: to put it at its simplest he thought he was right and his opponents wrong.
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Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

History has no purpose. It isn't the kind of thing that has a purpose. People and possibly other animals have purposes: history doesn't.
 
This is a pretty bold assumption!  From what basis are your arguing this?  Personal experience, subjective viewpoint, divine revelation?
Ontology. Only animate beings are capable of formulating purpose. I accept I probably should have added 'gods and other supernatural entities' to my list of entities to which it is legitimate to attribute purpose.
 
Colloquially we can of course talk of the 'purpose' of a hammer, say, but even elementary analysis indicates we are talking of the purpose of the user of the hammer - or perhaps its designer. History however is neither an animate creature nor a tool.
 
I get particularly het up on this error because no discipline has suffered more from the same error than economics (except perhaps evolutionary biology).
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Perhaps the better way to talk about this is whether or not history has teleology.
That might be better, in that it would be legitimate (if not necessarily correct) to say that history, for instance, reveals god's purpose in creation (or some such phrase).
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Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Of course different people will have different explanations for the defeat (victory from Kights' point of view). But the history - the historical facts - are not subjective in the least.
 
This is all fine and dandy.  However, it is more difficult to explain how historians arrive at and interpret the "facts."  Obviously this is the purpose of historiography.  What is the point in making this assertion if you believe that there is no point in at least trying to aim for objectivivity?
I don't understand why you're asking me that (OK, maybe you're not asking me Smile) I'm holding that it is desirable to aim for objectivity, and that pointing out that this is difficult is trivial, or at least unnecessary. We know it's difficult and we've always known it was difficult - does anyone think that the people who originally read Xenophon didn't know he was influence by his own views and personal background?
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Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

What does anyone's 'present needs and purposes' have to do with the Battle of Hasting being fought in 1066 and even won by the Normans? Saying that whether or not the Normans conquered England under William I depends on the context of the historian saying it is simply ludicrous.
 
What is the purpose in using such divisive language against egyptian goddess?  She has come here with an interest and wants to discuss it.  It does not appear as if she is one of the other people whom you have chosen in the past to engage in total intellectual warfare with such as Drgonzaga.  Our (or at least my) objective as moderator is to retain members and not purposefully scare them away.
 
I wasn't and am not engaged against egyptian goddess personally, but against the point of view she put forward, which I consider a harmful (and rather naive) one. As she made clear, it isn't her view, but one she had been presented with. That she took it personally is a pity.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote egyptian goddess Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 12:11

this discussion is off topic.



Edited by egyptian goddess - 23-Apr-2009 at 12:25
"Each Age tries to form its own conceptions of the past. Each Age writes the history of the past anew with reference to the conditions uppermost in it’s own time". (Frederick Jackson Turner)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 12:19
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Actually I said that it was my own (perhaps naive) but it was my own view. I am a mere student, and perhaps amateur in the area of historiography, I did not take what you said personally and clearly once I saw my views appeared invalid or as you pointed out trivial, I withdrew them. I do not need your pity, simply because I am clearly at an age still developing my views and understanding these concepts, which traditionally people my age are not engaged with untill they reach a more mature stage. As for you, its a shame that you are so hard headed and unable to consider arguments which oppose your own. I guess thats what happens when your 75 years old. go ahead and quote me and tell me that this is ludicrous as well... this thread is going off on a major tangent and its a shame that I have only been a member for less than a week and found little value in engaging in these discussions.
 
If this is the way you react to a little jostling then maybe we'd be better off without you. And having a go at his age is a low blow. Gcle is one of the cleverest and intellectually generous on these boards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 15:56
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

As is too often the case, argument is more popular on AE than analysis.
 
It may be part of the reason the forums are showing some signs of stress - actually signs of withering away. 
 
A bold statement!
 
Actually, argument is the life blood of history. So long as its conducted in a civil manner that is.
 
I'm neither Marxist not Hegelian, not do I accept that historical development is driven by a dialectic. However, it is the opposition and interplay of thesis and antithesis - i.e. argument - that leads to synthesis in the growth of understanding and knowledge.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 16:43
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

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Actually I said that it was my own (perhaps naive) but it was my own view. I am a mere student, and perhaps amateur in the area of historiography, I did not take what you said personally and clearly once I saw my views appeared invalid or as you pointed out trivial, I withdrew them. I do not need your pity, simply because I am clearly at an age still developing my views and understanding these concepts, which traditionally people my age are not engaged with untill they reach a more mature stage. As for you, its a shame that you are so hard headed and unable to consider arguments which oppose your own. I guess thats what happens when your 75 years old. go ahead and quote me and tell me that this is ludicrous as well... this thread is going off on a major tangent and its a shame that I have only been a member for less than a week and found little value in engaging in these discussions.
 
If this is the way you react to a little jostling then maybe we'd be better off without you. And having a go at his age is a low blow. Gcle is one of the cleverest and intellectually generous on these boards.
Gcle is perfectly capable of defending himself, Parnell.  There is no need to continue this argument.  Don't make people feel unwanted, it is diversity of opinion that makes the forum so great.  If she got upset by his comments she is allowed to voice her displeasure.  Again please don't tell people "we'd be better off without you."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 17:29
Originally posted by King John King John wrote:

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Quote
Actually I said that it was my own (perhaps naive) but it was my own view. I am a mere student, and perhaps amateur in the area of historiography, I did not take what you said personally and clearly once I saw my views appeared invalid or as you pointed out trivial, I withdrew them. I do not need your pity, simply because I am clearly at an age still developing my views and understanding these concepts, which traditionally people my age are not engaged with untill they reach a more mature stage. As for you, its a shame that you are so hard headed and unable to consider arguments which oppose your own. I guess thats what happens when your 75 years old. go ahead and quote me and tell me that this is ludicrous as well... this thread is going off on a major tangent and its a shame that I have only been a member for less than a week and found little value in engaging in these discussions.
 
If this is the way you react to a little jostling then maybe we'd be better off without you. And having a go at his age is a low blow. Gcle is one of the cleverest and intellectually generous on these boards.
Gcle is perfectly capable of defending himself, Parnell.  There is no need to continue this argument.  Don't make people feel unwanted, it is diversity of opinion that makes the forum so great.  If she got upset by his comments she is allowed to voice her displeasure.  Again please don't tell people "we'd be better off without you."


I think its a disgrace you are prepared to overlook a cheeky comment based on someone's age. And I am equally entitled to 'voice my displeasure' if someone is behaving like an ass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 19:44
I didn't over look any comment about anybody's age.  Has Gcle taken any offense to the comment?  If he has I must have missed it.  My point is that you shouldn't be making anybody feel unwanted even if you disagree with what they are saying.  If you said something like the comment was a low blow and left it at that, that would be fine.  Instead you react by saying that her reaction to "a little jostling" should mean that we, as a forum, would be better off with out her.  

I understand this is your way of voicing your displeasure but your behavior is no better than anyone else's here.  The point still stands don't tell people "we'd be better off with out you."

PS: Was her reaction a bit over the top?  Sure, I think so, but it doesn't warrant your reaction.  As I said Gcle is perfectly able to defend himself, if he was so offended he could have said and still can say something about her comment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 19:50
This is off topic to the degree of farce. Needless to say having a go at someone because of their age is a disgrace, and should be treated the same way we would treat someone having a go because they are black, Jewish whatever. The person reacted to a little discussion with an obscene reaction and a personal insult. We'd be better off without that type of person. Ban me if you don't like it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 19:55
I don't disagree with you about the swipe at somebody's age.  However, that swipe was not obscene.  All I'm asking is that you refrain from telling people we don't need them here.  That's not that difficult, you could point out that the comment was unnecessary and leave it at that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 20:14
I appreciate everyone's concern.
 
However, getting back on topic, I note that no-one has actually said that they agree with the 'postmodernist' position that there is something new or significant about noticing that people's views are influenced by their metanarratives, the contexts they develop in (in particular in the description and analysis of historical events.
 
Does anyone so agree? Or think I'm asking the wrong question, or using the wrong vocabulary?
 
To clarify: I think people are influenced by their contexts. What I don't accept is that it's worth going on about.
 
PS I share Paul's view about the suitability of the term 'postmodern', but I'm going with the flow here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 20:52
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
However, getting back on topic, I note that no-one has actually said that they agree with the 'postmodernist' position that there is something new or significant about noticing that people's views are influenced by their metanarratives, the contexts they develop in (in particular in the description and analysis of historical events.
 
I believe the Postmodern Condition is people no-longer believing in 'metanarratives' but instead inventing their own 'little narratives'. So people stop being catholic (meta or grand narrative) and start a suicide cult, become trekkies or creationists and so on. Or stop watching network TV and start making and responding to vids on YouTube. Whereas in the past there were few products and lots of people used one, now people prefer to choose from a large number of different products and each has few buyers.
 
I don't see how this is a position though, it is simply supposed to be an impirically observed fact.  If you use a Marxist model it is largely irrelevant as religion, shopping habits and TV viewing habits are not considered important, if you use the Postmodern model media, consumerism and alienation are some of the most important things.
 
I don't think it's a typical ideological model that people are influenced by their 'little narrative' or 'discourses', they intially choose them from the vast menu of options (ie scientology) then choose to adhere to them and treat their logic as truth. They are then influenced by them but only after they have chosen to be. The postmodern note is unlike previous model this is a voluntary choice of influence, so when people have these views treat it and them as such.


Edited by Paul - 23-Apr-2009 at 20:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 21:16
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

I believe the Postmodern Condition is people no-longer believing in 'metanarratives' but instead inventing their own 'little narratives'. So people stop being catholic (meta or grand narrative) and start a suicide cult, become trekkies or creationists and so on. Or stop watching network TV and start making and responding to vids on YouTube.
 
This is true when applied to culture.  However, within the discipline of history, there could still be a metanarrative within a text.  The point of departure comes when that metanarrative is subjectivized by the reader or person "interacting" or "participating" with the text that it becomes something totally different or internalized relative to the participant.  As part of the discourse it is shaped and changed by the reader(s).
 
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

I don't see how this is a position though, it is simply supposed to be an impirically observed fact. Whereas in the past there were few products and lots of people used one, now people prefer to choose from a large number of different products and each has few buyers. If you use a Marxist model it is largely irrelevant as religion, shopping habits and TV viewing habits are not considered important, if you use the Postmodern model media, consumerism and alienation are the most things.
 
What you are talking about here is basically Max Weber's stinging critique of Marx's materialist dialectic.  Outward appearences do not necessarily reveal one's relationship to the means of production.  For Weber, social status is created by outward appearance and patterns of consumption.  Thus, social status and consciousness, and the formation of power relationships, can be based on other things besides economic power.  Ideas, including religious convictions, are not relegated to mere superstructure.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 21:24
I happen to agree with the skepticism against meta-narratives (and with the relevance of this 'postmodernist' stance), especially in disciplines like history (Byzantine Emperor provided a good example with the text being re-shaped by each reading). This is also proven by a good deal of modern scholarship. However, as suggested above, it's a bit more than the issue of meta-narratives, that's a simplification of the entire issue.
 
But as long as there's no serious interest for discussion (the thread opener seemed to have it so but she(?)'s now gone), I cannot do anything but state this opinon. Alternatively I can supply a bibliography, but my bitter experience in this forum is that people care rather to express their opinions instead of reading and learning.
 
I have just remembered that some time ago I linked an essay about postmodernism and post-structuralism in history in some other thread but there were no takers.


Edited by Chilbudios - 23-Apr-2009 at 21:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 22:07
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

I believe the Postmodern Condition is people no-longer believing in 'metanarratives' but instead inventing their own 'little narratives'. So people stop being catholic (meta or grand narrative) and start a suicide cult, become trekkies or creationists and so on. Or stop watching network TV and start making and responding to vids on YouTube.
 
This is true when applied to culture.  However, within the discipline of history, there could still be a metanarrative within a text.  The point of departure comes when that metanarrative is subjectivized by the reader or person "interacting" or "participating" with the text that it becomes something totally different or internalized relative to the participant.  As part of the discourse it is shaped and changed by the reader(s).
 
How exactly is this different to what I said?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 22:16
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

I believe the Postmodern Condition is people no-longer believing in 'metanarratives' but instead inventing their own 'little narratives'. So people stop being catholic (meta or grand narrative) and start a suicide cult, become trekkies or creationists and so on. Or stop watching network TV and start making and responding to vids on YouTube.
 
This is true when applied to culture.  However, within the discipline of history, there could still be a metanarrative within a text.  The point of departure comes when that metanarrative is subjectivized by the reader or person "interacting" or "participating" with the text that it becomes something totally different or internalized relative to the participant.  As part of the discourse it is shaped and changed by the reader(s).
 
How exactly is this different to what I said?
 
Were you meaning to say that metanarratives do not/no longer exist because of postmodernism?  Or by saying that people "no-longer believe" in metanarratives, you mean that people in the postmodernist age place less value on ideas and metanarratives?
 
I was saying that metanarratives do in fact exist and are acknowledged by postmodernist historians.  However, the metanarratives are so subjectivized and relativized in scholarship that they often become something totally different.  In my opinion, this defeats the purpose of defining the thing as something all-pervasive and stable.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 22:43
Meta or grand narratives are unsubjectivised narratives. If it's sujectivised it's not a metanarrative by definition.
 
Metanarratives exist, just if they are subjectified buy individuals they are now 'little narratives' and instead of having everyone believing in one metanarrative you have everyone believing in their own little narrative.
 
If everybody subjectivises a metanarrative it nolonger exists and there you have the postmodern age, where the grand narratives are either minority beliefs or being gradually subjectified out of existence.
 
 


Edited by Paul - 23-Apr-2009 at 22:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2009 at 10:57
My question is still what's supposed to be new about all this, except for the invention of a new vocabulary to talk about it, and one that on the whole doesn't stand up to linguistic analysis (consider 'metanarratives exist')? Many years ago, G.M.Trevelyan wrote of his work on Garibaldi: "Without bias, I should never have written them at all. For I was moved to write them by a poetical sympathy with the passions of the Italian patriots of the period, which I retrospectively shared."[
 
It's not that "metanarratives don't exist" or have only recently been noticed: they have always existed (insofar as that can be said at all), and always been subjectified , and always been noticed. That doesn't mean there should be any less need to search for objectivity, or, fr that matter, to re-weave micro-histories into macro ones.
 
I grant that more microhistory is now written than before, but it's been around a long time. And in any case more history is now being written than ever before, and a whole stack more PhDs are being granted and another whole stack of history departments now exist.
 
Which apart from anything else means a greater drive to find niches for study and publication - not just in the local sense but also in the subject, like the history of salt for instance. However that drive has always existed: my own tutor, Sir John Plumb, started by analysing one single Parliament in the early 18th century. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2009 at 11:57
I've posted a longer post on the other thread about history's percieved purpose. Is it just me or is rather confusing having two topics on practically the same thing?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2009 at 12:41
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
I grant that more microhistory is now written than before, but it's been around a long time. And in any case more history is now being written than ever before, and a whole stack more PhDs are being granted and another whole stack of history departments now exist.
 
 
Maybe it's that in the past macrohistories were the mainstream views and microhistories a minority view and this has now swapped around.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2009 at 12:59
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

I've posted a longer post on the other thread about history's percieved purpose. Is it just me or is rather confusing having two topics on practically the same thing?


The other thread seems a bit less active, but I will just check with Gcle and BE before I close it. Smile

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