By Mark Poster
Poster charts the flow from social background to new practices of cultural historical past which are drawing power from poststructuralist interpretive innovations and elevating concerns present in feminist and postcolonial discourse. He offers shut readings of Lawrence Stone; Fran?ois Furet, Michel de Certeau and Michel Foucault.
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Additional resources for Cultural History and Postmodernity
Instead, one must see them as metaphysical or even ideological obstacles to a critical form of cognition. The attention to language in Derrida and Foucault is an effort to avoid or mini- 36 Lawrence Stone's Family History mize the metaphysical gestures of the historian and the structuralist. Lawrence Stone, who highly recommends Spiegel's essay, names poststructuralism as the number-one threat to the discipline of history. "22 Derrida, Stone announces, in agreement with G. R. "24 Many if not most historians regard the writings of Foucault and Derrida as denials that reality and truth exist, as evidence of an immoral relativism.
Lawrence Stone's Family History 29 This is the way it goes with historical explanations. Historians explain changes and by so doing erase the difference between the past and the present. By erasing this difference, the rational subject is discursively installed in both the past and the present. What is called historical explanation is a discourse with political effects: the discourse discovers "truth" as explanation, and this explanation affirms the rationality of the historian, of the discipline of history.
The argument for the authentic experience of agents-the voice of the people-and the argument that the role of the historian is to represent of this agency no longer speak to the situation of individuals or groups in the advanced societies. E. P. Thompson's moving tribute to agency as authentic experience, while eloquent, has lost its critical edge: I am seeking to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the "obsolete" hand-loom weaver, the "utopian artisan" ... from the enormous condescension of posterity.
Cultural History and Postmodernity by Mark Poster