48.1 - Long-Term Processes in Human History

Special Issue – Johan Heilbron and Nico Wilterdink (Eds.): Long-Term Processes in Human History.

Studying long-term processes in human history has unmistakably returned to the scholarly agenda. While academic specialisation continues and a focus on current events may seem urgent, there is also a vivid need for reassessing and rethinking long-term processes on the global level. Inquiries into these processes have become a broad and multidisciplinary affair, which draws on various intellectual traditions across the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.

This special issue, which is a tribute to the Dutch sociologist Johan Goudsblom, offers a challenging selection of contemporary scholarship. With contributions from some of the leading protagonists of new perspectives on the longue dureé, the articles purport to uncover regularities and underlying mechanisms in long-term social processes. They tackle problems ranging from long-term changes in family life, food markets, and the global state system to encompassing socio-ecological transformations in the very long run.

Covering a variety of topics and questions that can be approached with different time-scales and viewpoints, this field of investigation also offers the possibility of cooperation and theoretical synthesis beyond the boundaries of disciplines. Demonstrating the fruitfulness and relevance of perspectives on long-term processes in human history, the issue aims to show that studying these processes is indispensable for understanding the human condition, for the advancement of the social sciences, and for gaining insight into some of the most pressing problems today.

With contributions by Nina Baur, David Christian, Randall Collins, Abram de Swaan, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Johan Goudsblom, Johan Heilbron, John R. McNeill, Stephen Mennell, André Saramago, and Nico Wilterdink.