chapter  1
22 Pages

Background and Emergence

Concurrence of the views regarding history in romanticism, post-Kantian idealism and Darwinism, it seems, contributed to the rise of historicism, that is, 'the tendency to interpret the whole of reality in historical, that is to say, relative, terms'. Meinecke also traced the rise of historicism back to the thoughts of those who had opposed rationalism in the past centuries. Metaphysical historicism was characterized by a desire to transcend time in order to find an ideal principle which governed the historical process. Karl Mannheim also contended that all historical knowledge is relational knowledge. Fernand Braudel's insistence on large space and long time and on the interaction between significant economic and social trends and the everyday life of people had much impact on the course of historical thinking. The scope of 'social history' was now broadened to include the history of social classes, social movements and so on.