Stefano Cavazza

Suspicious Brothers: Reflections on Political History and Social Sciences



This article analyses the relationship between history and the social sciences. Historians and social scientists were long regarded as separate or even opposite in their methodological and analytical approaches. The opening of the historians' ranks towards the social sciences became strongly apparent between the two world wars when the group of historians associated with the journal «Les Annales» set out to replace the «traditionally oriented narrative of events» by a «problem-oriented analytical history». The 1980s were also the time when the «linguistic turn» spread to the historical studies, paving the way for cooperation with other subjects, but also complicating relations with some sectors of the social sciences. Social and political phenomena have a historical dimension which needs to be reckoned with. Collaboration presupposes recognising the respective scientific premises, and not falling into methodological monism.


  • Political History
  • Social Sciences
  • Historiography
  • Conceptual History


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