Monday, June 16, 2008

Quotations from Tosh #7: People in History

"The right-wing version of people's history is characteristically a history with the politics left out -- as in Trevelyan's English Social History -- a history devoid of struggle, devoid of ideas, but with a very strong sense of religion and of values. It is apt to idealise the family -- 'a circle of loved, familiar faces' -- and to interpret social relationships as reciprocal rather than exploitative. Class antagonisms may be admitted, but they are contained within a larger whole, and softened by cross-cutting ties. The characteristic location of right-wing people's history is in the 'organic' community of the past .... The ideology is determinedly anti-modern, with urban life and capitalism seen as alien intrusions on the body politic, splintering the age-old solidarities of 'traditional' life." -- Raphael Samuel "People's History" (1981), cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 112.

"The attempt to recover the texture of everyday life may be associated with a 'neo-Romantic intellectual enterprise' -- one of the charges levelled against it; but it is perfectly compatible -- if that is to be the test of scientificity -- with elaborate day-charts and passionless prose." -- Raphael Samuel "People's History" (1981), cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 115.

"Indeed it is unlikely that we shall ever be able effectively to combat bourgeois ideology until we can see how it arises in ourselves, until we explore the needs and desires it satisfies, and the whole substratum of fears on which it draws. Our understanding of socialism too might be less abstract, if we were to explore it historically 'from the bottom up', looking at its secret languages, its unarticulated passions, its cognitive unconscious and dissonances. Above all, the questions posed by feminism leave no category of Marxist historical analysis unscathed, and it is one of the strengths of people's history that it is proving a far more hospitable terrain for asking them than more abstract analytic planes. People's history also has the merit of raising a crucial question for both theoretical and political work - that of the production of knowledge, both the sources on which it draws and its ultimate point of address. It questions the existing intellectual division of labour and implicitly challenges the professionalised monopolies of knowledge. It makes democratic practice one of the yardsticks by which socialist thought is judged, and thus might encourage us not only to interpret the world, but to see how our work could change it." -- Raphael Samuel "People's History" (1981), cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 116.

"Second, the discrepancy between the high quality of recent work in women's history and its continuing marginal status in the field as a whole (as measured by textbooks, syllabi, and monographic work) points up the limits of descriptive approaches that do not address dominant disciplinary concepts, or at least that do not address these concepts in terms that can shake their power and perhaps transform them." -- Joan Scott, "Gender: a useful category of historical analysis," (1988) cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 137.

"We must ask more often how things happened in order to find out why they happened; in anthropologist Michelle Rosaldo's formulation, we must pursue not universal, general causality but meaningful explanation." -- Joan Scott, "Gender: a useful category of historical analysis," (1988) cited in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 139.

"It is not sexuality which haunts society, but society which haunts the body's sexuality. Sex-related differences between bodies are continually summoned as testimony to social relations and phenomena that have nothing to do with sexuality. Not only as testimony to, but also testimony for -- in other words, as legitimation." -- Maurice Godelier, "The Origins of Male Domination" (1981) cited by Joan Scott in Tosh, ed. Historians on History, p. 141.

1 comment:

MichaelW said...

Hi I'm looking to build up my incoming links for my blog.
Would you like to exchange blogroll links with me?
If yes, please visit: http://bigmoneylist.blogspot.com/
and leave your URL for your blog there. I'll link to you within

hours. Thanks.