By Peter Burke
Peter Burke follows up his magisterial Social historical past of data, picking out up the place the 1st quantity left off round 1750 on the e-book of the French Encyclopédie and following the tale via to Wikipedia. just like the prior quantity, it deals a social historical past (or a retrospective sociology of data) within the feel that it focuses now not on members 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 - accumulating wisdom, analysing, disseminating and applying it - are actually time-bound and take assorted kinds in numerous sessions and areas. the second one half attempts to counter the tendency to write down a triumphalist heritage of the 'growth' of data via discussing losses of data and the cost of specialization. The 3rd half bargains geographical, sociological and chronological overviews, contrasting the event of centres and peripheries and arguing that every of the most developments of the interval - professionalization, secularization, nationalization, democratization, and so forth, coexisted and interacted with its opposite.
As ever, Peter Burke provides a breath-taking diversity of scholarship in prose of exemplary readability and accessibility. This hugely expected moment quantity can be crucial analyzing 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
M. Forster’s advice ‘Only connect’, and trying to evade what Aby Warburg called the intellectual ‘border police’ in the hope of producing a polyphonic history of knowledges, a history viewed from multiple perspectives. Although this book is not concerned with recommending a particular attitude to knowledge, let alone a policy, readers should be warned that its author is a pluralist in the sense of believing that knowledges in the plural, like opinions, are desirable, since understanding emerges from intellectual dialogue and even conflict.
The United States Survey of the Coast (1808) offers an early instance of government support for research. Imperial governments were particularly concerned to survey their territories. India, for instance, was surveyed from 1764 onwards by a team led by Major James Rennell, soon to be appointed surveyor-general. Many other kinds of survey (or, as the French called them, enquêtes, ‘enquiries’) were undertaken in this period: geological, ethnographic, archaeological, botanical, and so on. Early examples include the geological survey of Canada (1842); the ethnographic survey conducted by the Russian Geographical Society (1848); and the Pacific Railroad Surveys of the American West in the mid-nineteenth century.
Messer-Davidow et al. (1993); Foucault (1997); Worsley (1997). 19 Burke (2000), 18. 20 Ryle (1949); Thelen (2004). 21 Foucault (1997), 8. 22 Furner and Supple (1990), 46. On the club, Phillipson (2010), 40, 129. 23 Raj (2007); Short (2009). 2 Collecting or observing is not done with an empty head. 4 The stages may seem to be timeless: each of them is situated in time as well as space. These four stages will be discussed in order in part I of this book, introducing further distinctions along the way.
A Social History of Knowledge, Volume 2: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia by Peter Burke