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From Universal History to Historical Sociology

J. A. Banks
The British Journal of Sociology
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 521-543
DOI: 10.2307/590887
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/590887
Page Count: 23
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From Universal History to Historical Sociology
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Abstract

The first two professors of sociology in England thought their major research task to be to examine the writings of historians, anthropologists and others in order to write comparative and evolutionary histories of mankind. The first wave of expansion of sociology after the war changed this emphasis. Small scale studies, using detailed primary sources, traced short-term developments in a selected area of interest. Studies of the here and now dominated sociology for some time. Twenty years later a second wave changed the emphasis again towards theoretical speculation, although the concept of time now held primary place, just as it had before the war. Historical sociology nevertheless languished until the impact of second-wave feminism, with its emphasis on women having been hidden from history, gave it an impetus which promises much in the future.

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