Jürgen Osterhammel

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History



The revival of world history towards the end of the twentieth century was intimately connected with the rise of a new master concept in the social sciences: globalization. Historians and social scientists responded to the same generational experience that the interconnectedness of social life on the planet had arrived at a new level of intensity. The conclusions drawn from this insight in the various academic disciplines diverged considerably. The early theorists of globalization in sociology, political science, and economics disdained a historical perspective. The new concept seemed ideally suited to grasp the characteristic features of contemporary society. It helped to pinpoint the very essence of present-day modernity. Globalization opened up a way towards the social science mainstream, provided elements of a fresh terminology to a field that had suffered for a long time from an excess of descriptive simplicity.

Keywords: world history; social science; globalization; modern globalization; sociology; contemporary society

Article.  7902 words. 

Subjects: History

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