HSF 21: Quantitative History of Society and Economy

Konrad H. Jarausch & Wilhelm H. Schröder (Hrsg.): Quantitative History of Society and Economy: Some International Studies. Vol. 21 (1987).

Quantitative historians are gradually becoming aware of the "international dimension" of their enterprise. Much of the pioneering work in the application of quantitative methods was done in the United States and by American historians, as A. Bogue recently recalled 1). But a series of bilateral Conferences between U. S. and Soviet historians or West German scholars 2), the translation project of the Annales, as well as some multilateral meetings among leading quantitative historians 3) indicate a slow rise in the awareness of and interest in quantitative work in other countries. Some of this new concern is a matter of tracing American influences beyond U. S. frontiers, especially among those foreign colleagues who at one time or other participated in the North American debate (through visiting lectures, guest professorships, and the like). But looking at quantitative history beyond the American sphere reveals a double paradox: while much of the hardware (IBM) and Software (SPSS, SAS) tends to be identical, their applications elsewhere differ considerably from U. S. patterns. Moreover, related historical questions can and do lead to distinctive scholarly approaches and answers in other countries. Divergent historiographical traditions, contrasting modes of disciplinary institutionalization, and separate cultural, ideological, and political agendas can influence the content and application of a common historical method.