Chapter

Insights and Problems

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/9780226072814.003.0013
Insights and Problems

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Structural postmodernists granted, in a limited sense, the presence of a crisis of representation. Theirs was not a call for a complete remodeling of the infrastructure of historical knowledge via the linguistic turn. They simply recalled the well-known lesson that all human actions have intended and unintended consequences to explain and resolve the much debated crisis of progress and modernity. The highlighting of the unexpected or ignored tendencies of progress would make visible the “true” aim of progressive developments and yield the proper indications for the shape of the future. Progress would be vindicated, albeit in a manner not expected. That gap between the realities created by progress and the expectations from progress was one between reality and illusions. The latter centered on the final emancipation of humanity, resulting in freedom, equality, virtue, and happiness. The reality of progress knew the change from reason as liberator to reason as instrument of control that created technology, bureaucratic organization, mass production, and communication—all creating sameness.

Keywords: structural postmodernism; historical knowledge; human actions; progress; modernity; mass production

Chapter.  1024 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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