The Social Practices of Historical Sociology

Nicholas Wilson, Stony Brook University, State University of New York (SUNY)
Damon Mayrl, Colby College

Methodological writing in historical sociology typically offers important insights into abstract questions of research design and logic of inquiry, but few insights into the day-to-day world of historical social-scientific research. In this paper, we draw upon interviews with practicing historical sociologists to probe the unexamined world of historical research. Among other findings, we demonstrate that historical sociology--far from being the purview of lonely and isolated scholars in dusty archives--is a robustly social world, whose interactive components spill over into lived method by inspiring creative research strategies. Moreover, using insights drawn from science studies, we argue that historical sociologists need to take the culture of research practice more seriously, as it can serve as an asset in understanding and improving the products of historical research in the social sciences.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 158. Archival Work as Qualitative Sociology II: Case Studies