The development of microhistory. Einaudi “microstorie” and Quaderni Storici; Ginzburg, Giovanni Levi, Edoardo Grendi, Carlo Poni et al; history from below. ‘s and ‘s as practiced by the canonical figures Carlo Ginzburg or Giovanni. Levi. Although it is never hard to point to predecessors retrospectively, . The work of Clifford Geertz was particularly important to the emergence of microhistory, even if some of the microhistorians, Giovanni Levi in particular, had .

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Sigurdur Gylfi Magnusson www. So if we are interested in explaining our practices as completed missions,we may think that for this occasion methodology-talk will do. But this could only occur after the data had been collected and assembled so as to reveal the internal logic of the social system under analysis.

However, I would like totake this summary as a tiovanni of departure, beacause of the expectations suggested by it. The increasing emphasis on agency at the expense of structure was precisely the development that Giovanni Levi had warned against in his discussion of Geertz’s method.

These mixrohistory, in turn, ideally reveal both the opportunities and constraints faced by our subject in the course of his or her life, in other words microyistory notion of the person’s lived experience.

The word “microhistory” dates back towhen the American historian George R. Thus, even if microhistory never manages to reinterpret the process of historical change, it has still provided a meaningful contribution to debates in social history. The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. In doing so, I shall speak about three methodological traits commonly ascribed to microhistory and intend to show that they are not parts of a sort of methodological armour.

Edited by Sherry B.

In terms of microhistory, the original Italian technique may be said to concentrate on the “model of” aspect of culture, while North American practices have concentrated on the “model for” aspect. Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence. She tells stories about how she tried and how she gave up learning the occitan language, or stories about the people she met day after day in the archives, andso on Wroepp.


I do not want to pretend that there is an miicrohistory concerning what this microhistorical perspective means and what it implies. Thus the fact that microhistories let their readers know how historical accounts are made, does not mean more than microhistories let their readers know that what they read is a certain kind of book labelled as an historical account.

Therefore, the microhistorian must attempt to formulate a hypothesis based on incomplete evidence, rather than use large amounts of data to confirm or disprove some initial theory about past behavior.

Levi argued that while such microhistorical studies may be interesting as interpretive exercises, they are of limited giovanji as historical examples because they are ultimately imponderable and meaningless. It remains very difficult to define, precisely because it is not a coherent set of practices or methods. The source of the microhistorians’ frustration was the fact that quantitative approaches tend to reduce the lives of millions to a few lrvi and demographic data points.

Microhistory |

This does micrrohistory mean, of course, that there is no intention to reach other readers as well, outside the academy. When microhistory looked so promising a generation ago, the main source of high hopes was its experimental character. To conduct a study based on the nominative methodology proposed by the microhistorians requires an archive, or in many cases a number of archives, containing many intact sources.

It does not, however, prove the theory, it merely suggests that a particular theory may provide the best available explanation. Ginzburg argued that the traces left behind by exceptional acts and behaviors can reveal previously unknown dimensions of human experience.

Giovanni Levi –

Roots of an Evidential Paradigm. For example, in the field of history of science, they historicize science, but when they take their own field as an object of historical study, they neglect to historicize history. And this is the pragmatic end for which it is worth to stop methodology-talk. The microhistorians were particularly interested in the ways in which structure constrained individual choice, and the ways microhisgory people shaped their lives in response to those constraints.

They appear as the right persons to tell stories about past people.

In The Cheese and theWorms Ginzburg introduces a miller from the sixteenth century, Menocchio, who has noticeably strange ideas about the Creation. In the American Historical Review published a debate between Robert Finlay and Natalie Zemon Davis concerning her well-known microhistory, The Return of Martin Guerre, which analyzed the trial of a sixteenth-century French peasant accused of posing as someone else for the purpose of wrongfully claiming the other man’s wife and property.

And while the first microhistorical studies concentrated exclusively on the lives of otherwise obscure individuals or small groups, later studies by Carlo Ginzburg and Pietro Redondi reexamined the lives of famous individuals such as the artist Piero della Francesca and the astronomer Galileo Galilei respectively.

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