By Peter Burke
Peter Burke follows up his magisterial Social historical past of information, selecting up the place the 1st quantity left off round 1750 on the book of the French Encyclopédie and following the tale via to Wikipedia. just like the earlier quantity, it deals a social historical past (or a retrospective sociology of data) within the experience that it focuses no longer on participants yet on teams, associations, collective practices and normal trends.
The booklet is split into three elements. the 1st argues that actions which seem to be undying - collecting wisdom, analysing, disseminating and using it - are in truth time-bound and take assorted kinds in several classes and locations. the second one half attempts to counter the tendency to put in writing a triumphalist historical past of the 'growth' of data by means of discussing losses of information and the cost of specialization. The 3rd half deals geographical, sociological and chronological overviews, contrasting the adventure of centres and peripheries and arguing that every of the most developments of the interval - professionalization, secularization, nationalization, democratization, and so on, coexisted and interacted with its opposite.
As ever, Peter Burke offers a breath-taking diversity of scholarship in prose of exemplary readability and accessibility. This hugely expected moment quantity might be crucial interpreting around the humanities and social sciences.
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Additional info for A Social History of Knowledge, Volume 2: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia
The history of science, for instance, is an autonomous department in many universities. Again, an International Intelligence History Association has been founded (1993), together with a Journal of Intelligence History (2001). The secondary literature on the history of knowledge is itself organized for the most part either by nations or by disciplines. By contrast, the aim and indeed the justification for this essay is to cross frontiers – national, social and disciplinary – bearing in mind E. M.
Notes 1 Drucker (1993), 30. 2 Brown (1989); Ringer (1992); Cohn (1996). 30 3 Mannheim (1952). Cf. Kettler et al. (1984). 4 Davenport and Prusak (1998), ix. 5 On the exploration of the Arctic, Bravo and Sörlin (2002). 6 Otterspeer (1989); Berkel et al. (1999); Jong (2004). 7 Pickstone (2000), 21. 8 Blair (2010), 1–10. 9 Cf. Konvitz (1987); Brown (1989); Waquet (2003, 2008). 10 Rueschemeyer and Skocpol (1996), 3. 11 Znaniecki (1940); McNeely with Wolverton (2008); McNeely (2009); Thackray and Merton (1972), 473.
The idea of the specimen was extended to human artefacts. A British mail order catalogue of 1896 offered for sale a list of so-called Ethnological Specimens. Human skeletons and skulls, especially those of non-western peoples, were treated as specimens and removed from graves without permission. The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin still houses over 6,000 skulls, collected in the later nineteenth century in the heyday of ‘craniology’ (below, pp. 39 In the sixteenth century, individuals from the Tupinambá people had been taken from Brazil to France, to be displayed as curiosities or trophies rather than to gain knowledge (though Montaigne took the opportunity to question them through an interpreter).
A Social History of Knowledge, Volume 2: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia by Peter Burke