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Conditions for CriticismAuthority, Knowledge, and Literature in the Late Nineteenth Century$
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Ian Small

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122418.001.0001

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Economics, Historiography, and Sociology

Economics, Historiography, and Sociology

(p.31) 2 Economics, Historiography, and Sociology
Conditions for Criticism

Ian Small

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by discussing how in the decades following 1871, the critique of classical political economy as an economic theory brought about its demise as an ideology. This ideological decline resulted in a crisis of intellectual authority. It then talks about nineteenth-century British historiography and how it is generally accepted that it is dominated by the Whiggish principle of gradualism. It notes that in the 1870s and 1880s, there has been a gradual acceptance of German historiography by British historians. Next, it notes that in British sociology, the epistemological challenge was posed by the systematizing tendency of Comtean thought. It then describes the conflict between British empirical historiography on one hand, and Comtean and Spencerian sociology on the other.

Keywords:   political economy, economic theory, British sociology, British historiography, German historiography, Comtean sociology, Spencerian sociology

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