Chapter

The Narrative Mode

Gurpreet Mahajan

in Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences

Third edition

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780198076971
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198076971.003.0004
The Narrative Mode

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This chapter discusses the narrative mode of inquiry. Advocates of the narrative mode argue that history is the most ‘individualizing and particularizing’ of all social sciences. While other disciplines such as sociology, economics, and politics search for generalizations, history concentrates on the unique and the particular. It does not strive to explain why empires decline or candidates win elections; it tells us why the Roman empire declined and why candidate A won the parliamentary elections in 1989 from constituency C. A historical narrative is neither an account of an object from its genesis nor a simple serialization and description of events one after another. It is essentially a form of explanation in which the explanandum (the event to be explained) follows from and appears as a consequence of the actions of individuals and groups placed in a particular historical situation.

Keywords: narrative mode; history; social sciences; historical narrative; explanation; explanandum

Chapter.  8334 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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