January, 2023

Tensions of Social History

Sources, Data, Actors and Models in Global Perspective

This book seeks to overcome the tension between 'western' and 'non-western' categories and tools in the study of global history, showing how most western approaches to the social sciences and history have developed through transnational and colonial interactions.

Offering a transnational and global history of the main tools we have to understand the word and its transformations over the last three centuries, Tensions of Social History explores the construction of archives and historical memory, the making of statistics and their use in politics, the identification of social actors, and the emergence of key social theories. Providing key insights into how to write history and develop social sciences in the global era while avoiding eurocentrism and cultural exceptionalism, this ambitious book shows how global history is made of encounters rather than confrontations between civilizations.


Table of Contents


Part I - What is a Source ? Archives, Memory and Contested Contextualities
1. Revolutionary Archives
2. Archives in the Twentieth Century: From Communism to the Decolonization
Conclusion to Part I

Part II - The Social Life of Data
1. Archives, Data and Models
2. When One Person Eats Two Chickens and Another None, On Average They Eat One Chicken Each: The Invention of Social Statistics Under Capitalism
3. Environment and Social Inequalities: How Are Data Made and by Whom?
Conclusion to Part II

Part III - Fragments of Social Worlds
1. Introduction
2. What is a Worker, What is a Slave?
6. What is a Peasant? The Global History of “Immobile People”
7. What is a Consumer ? Identities and Alterities in the Stomach
Conclusion to Part III

Part IV - The Quest of Universality: Values, Theories and the European Model
1. Societies and their Evolution: From the Enlightenments to Marxisms
2. Weberian Worlds

General Conclusion
Selected Bibliography