Cultural history

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As a cultural history refers to the history of the intellectual and cultural life, civilization, and their research and representation.

Concept and subject area

Elements of cultural history are the family , the language , the customs , the religion , the art and the science . The cultural history is based on a broad concept of sources, which z. B. also includes "everyday sources".

Cultural history is not directly concerned with political history or state history. In cultural history, the specification of precise times is less relevant than in political historiography .

The term cultural history goes back to the 18th century and is based on the belief of the Enlightenment ( Voltaire ) in the constantly advancing cultural development of mankind. In German Romanticism ( Johann Gottfried Herder ) every unconscious work was seen as part of cultural history and recognized in it as the expression of a “folk spirit”. The 20th century led to a cultural philosophy with representatives like Arnold J. Toynbee and Oswald Spengler , who developed their knowledge from a comparative cultural history of peoples. Alfred Weber developed cultural history more in the direction of intellectual history towards cultural sociology .

“New cultural history” in historical studies

Under cultural history in the science of history very different concepts understood. On the one hand, there are historians who understand “cultural history” to be certain research subjects that are usually distinguished from political history. On the other hand, historians such as Ute Daniel , Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger or Thomas Mergel have recently represented a concept of cultural history that does not refer to specific objects.

In the 1980s, a critical research direction emerged within social history that rejected the “search for social, political and, above all, economic determinants / factors and the long-term processes that can be explained from them” as a “Eurocentric history of progress”. In this "social, political or economic history oriented structure and process history", the "cultural creativity of people in shaping their life contexts" is not 'appropriately' used. With a “ New Cultural History”, the research interest was directed to “symbolic forms of the past” such as “signs, metaphors, political languages, collective representations or rituals”. The transitions to social history are therefore fluid in practice.

The aim of this new cultural history is therefore to focus a certain, cultural-historical perspective not only on highly cultural objects. In this way, the claim is made to research objects in a cultural-historical way from which traditional cultural historiography has always clearly distinguished itself, such as politics and law. In contrast to traditional political history, the focus of a cultural-historical analysis of the political and legal are the communicative processes, especially in everyday life. From a cultural-historical perspective, political and legal institutions are not objective conditions with a rational structure, but condensates of communicatively raised, recognized or rejected validity claims. Communication is understood as an exchange of signs, which is why particularly elaborate signs - symbols, rituals or ceremonies - play a prominent role in the new cultural history. Because text and symbol sources do not open up an objective view of the facts of history, but only provide indications of the linguistic communication of the past. This as a linguistic turn ( linguistic turn ) in the History of incoming paradigm shift based on the idea that "social positions, market pressures and demographic trends in turn act as independent factors on the semiotic practices of the people concerned."

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: cultural history  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Lutz Raphael: History of Extreme , p. 233.
  2. ^ Lutz Raphael: History of Extreme , p. 228.
  3. Lutz Raphael: History of Extreme , p. 233 f.