Sociology and History: Partnership, Rivalry, or Mutual Incomprehension?

Edited by Roderick Floud and Pat Thane

in British Sociology Seen from Without and Within

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263426
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734298 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

Sociology and History: Partnership, Rivalry, or Mutual Incomprehension?

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The 1960s was a period of ferment, intellectual excitement, optimism and expansion in all the social sciences, including sociology. It is, therefore, an appropriate starting point for a discussion of the relationship between history and sociology in Britain. The ferment affected different branches of history in different ways: political and diplomatic history hardly at all; social and economic history much more. The impact of the social sciences on economic history came primarily from neo-classical economic theory allied to econometrics. Historians looked to the social sciences in the 1960s and 1970s for concepts, theories, and methods which would assist them to reinvigorate the writing of history. There can be little doubt that economic history was much more influenced between 1960 and 1990 by economics than was social history by sociology. However, history since the 1960s has drawn more on the insights and methods of the social sciences than the social sciences in Britain, including sociology, have drawn on history; this is to the detriment of scholarship in the social sciences.

Keywords: Britain; sociology; social history; social sciences; economic history; methods

Chapter.  4927 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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