This article provides an overview of the development of one particular subfield of history writing in Bulgaria, social history. It concentrates on the modern period, and delineated several stages in the evolution of the Bulgarian historiography, namely the National Revival under Ottoman rule, followed by the “bourgeois” epoch from the 1878 liberation to 1944, the communist regime, and the post-communist transformation until today. In the first part, the article presents several pre-communist antecedents of social history, explores the rise of professional historiography initially under Marxist auspices, and then explores attempts at historiographical revisions before and after 1989. In the second part, the article briefly presents the author’s own attempt to write social history along the lines of the German Gesellschaftsgeschichte and alternative approaches on social history and modernization.
This review essay provides a brief overview of the research and publication activity of the Udruženje za društvenu istoriju/Association for Social History, an innovative scholarly organization established in 1998 in Belgrade, Serbia. The association promotes research on social history in modern South-Eastern Europe, with a focus on former Yugoslavia, and publishes scientific works and historical documents. The driving force behind the activity of the association is a group of young social historians gathered around Professor Andrej Mitrović, at the University of Belgrade. Prof. Mitrović’s work on the “social history of culture” has provided a scholarly framework for a variety of new works dealing with issues of modernization, history of elites, history of ideas, and the diffuse relationship between history and memory. Special attention is given to the Association’s journal, Godišnjak za društvenu istoriju/Annual for Social History, which published studies on economic history, social groups, gender issue, cultural history, modernization, and the history of everyday life in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Methodologically routed in social history, these research projects are interdisciplinary, being a joint endeavor of sociologists, art historians, and scholars of visual culture.
This article focuses on the evolution of Greek historiography since the 1970s, with an emphasis on issues of class and gender. It is argued that, in the last decades, Greek historiography has been liberated from traditional nationalistic narratives in favor of new intellectual perspectives dealing with social history and the history of “society.” During the 1970s and 1980s, the concept of class—a fundamental concern of social history in European historiography—did not find much room in Greek historiography. Debates about the socioeconomic and political system in modern Greece focused on the importance of immobile political and economic structures as main barriers to modernization and Europeanization. The 1990s were marked by the renewal of the study of the “social,” articulated around two main methodological and theoretical axes, signaling the shift from structures to agency. The first was the conceptualization of class as both a cultural and economic phenomenon. The second was the introduction of gender. The recent period is characterized by the proliferation of studies that conceptualize the “social” through the notion of culture, evoking the historical construction of human experience and talking about the unstable, malleable, and ever changing content of human identities. Cultural historians examine class, gender, ethnicity, and race in their interrelation and treat these layers of identity as processes in the making and not as coherent and consolidated systems of reference.
ADRIAN JONES (Bundoora, Vic., Australia) INTRODUCTION: "WHICH SOCIALHISTORY OF RUSSIA?" The essays in Part 1 of this double issue of The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review are unusual. The hegemonic preoccupations of Anglo-American historiography are put to one side, in favor of views from left
PETER H. SOLOMON. Jr. (Toronto. Canada) LEGAL JOURNALS AND SOVIET SOCIALHISTORY The legal journals of almost any country make good sources for the study of socialhistory. By illuminating the substance of the law and the way it is applied, they are bound to provide insights into the nature of
This review essay evaluates the evolution of the Hungarian journal of social history, Korall társadalomtörténeti folyóirat (Coral: A journal of social history), founded in 1999 as a new forum of social history research. Korall promoted two distinct understandings of social history, stated only implicitly in the first years of the journal, but later elaborated more explicitely by the editors, as core definitions of their research programme. A first, narrow acceptation places social history within the field of (historical) sociology and favours structural approaches and concepts specific to the social sciences rather than the actual historical context. A second definition is wider, including a variety of topics such as environmental history, cultural history, economic, and demographic history, being meant to function as a powerful counter-discourse against positivistic, traditional and political-orientated history, still dominant in contemporary Hungarian historiography. Based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative content analysis, the review essay argues that, during its eight years of existance to date, Korall has undergone a process of internationalization. Although most articles published in the journal continue to focus on topics pertaining to the history of Hungary—especially during the “dualist period,” 1867-1918—references to international events, authors, and theories have lately acquired a greater importance.
Social history is a relatively new field in Romanian historiography. In this context, Revista de Istorie Socială has attempted, since 1996, to contribute to the development of this field of studies and to bridge the gap between various historical schools and generations, opening new fields of research and reinterpreting old ones. This review essay provides an overview of the Review’s editorial policy, its publications, structure and content, in order to evaluate its impact on the development of social history in post-communist Romania. It is argued that the Review exhibits various historiographical influences, ranging from 19th century historicism to 20th century national schools of social history, most importantly the French Annales.
This article focuses on the evolution of social history in pre- 1989 West Germany and the GDR and, on the basis of this overview, identifies new, innovative historiographical trends on (re-)writing social history in unified Germany. It is argued that, for many decades, West German historiography had been characterized by sharp debates between the more established advocates of investigations into social structures and processes, on the one hand, and the grass-roots historians of everyday life, on the other. Since the early 1990s, however, this antagonism has considerably receded in favour of synthetic perspectives. At the same time, interest in the history of East European states and regions has considerably increased. This article highlights these new analytical trends in recent German historiography by taking as example studies of the social history of the GDR. In the unified Germany, the history of the GDR has received particular attention. Access to new sources has also enabled historians to link the histories of Eastern and Western Europe, either by employing comparative perspectives or investigating cross-border entanglements.
S. G. WHEATCROFT (Melboume, Australia) STATISTICAL SOURCES FOR THE STUDY OF SOVIET SOCIALHISTORY IN THE PREWAR PERIOD Statistics have very seldom been collected for purely historical analysis. They have normally been collected to assist in such functions as administration, planning, and
GEORGE LIBER (Birmingham. Ala., U.S.A.) SOCIALHISTORY OF THE UKRAINE IN THE PREWAR PERIOD: A SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY Archival? Guides . Princeton University Press will soon publish Dr. Pa- tricia Kennedy Grimsted's comprehensive guide to archives in the Ukrainian SSR. The Canadian Institute of