Chapter

Views with Postmodernist Affinities

in On the Future of History

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780226072791
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226072814 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226072814.003.0009
Views with Postmodernist Affinities

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In history, the social energy that shaped temporary forms of unity also caused their decline when its initial strength dissipated. Historians have often spoken about exhausted states, empires, and societies, but have embedded such talk usually into cyclical theories of decadence. Adams, much in the manner of structural postmodernists, referred to one universal history with its development and end. As in Cournot's view, the much-vaunted idea of progress would be the major force that drove history to its ironic end in permanent stability. The acceleration of innovations and change witnessed not just a greater human control over the world but also the accelerating dissipation of social energy. The function of the modern period was thus ultimately a destructive one.

Keywords: universal history; structural postmodernists; postmodernist affinities; progress; stability; innovation; social energy

Chapter.  2112 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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