By Peter Burke
Peter Burke follows up his magisterial Social heritage of information, deciding upon up the place the 1st quantity left off round 1750 on the book of the French Encyclopédie and following the tale via to Wikipedia. just like the prior quantity, it bargains a social heritage (or a retrospective sociology of information) within the experience that it focuses now not on contributors yet on teams, associations, collective practices and common trends.
The booklet is split into three components. the 1st argues that actions which seem to be undying - accumulating wisdom, analysing, disseminating and making use of it - are in reality time-bound and take various varieties in several sessions and areas. the second one half attempts to counter the tendency to jot down a triumphalist historical past of the 'growth' of data by way of discussing losses of data and the cost of specialization. The 3rd half deals geographical, sociological and chronological overviews, contrasting the adventure of centres and peripheries and arguing that every of the most developments of the interval - professionalization, secularization, nationalization, democratization, and so forth, coexisted and interacted with its opposite.
As ever, Peter Burke offers a breath-taking diversity of scholarship in prose of exemplary readability and accessibility. This hugely expected moment quantity should be crucial examining around the humanities and social sciences.
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Additional info for A Social History of Knowledge, Volume 2: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia
Fieldworkers often expressed contempt for the ‘armchair’ scholar, seeing themselves as closer to reality, whether natural or cultural. 59 In fact Haddon, who had spent time at the zoological station in Naples, borrowed the term ‘fieldwork’ from natural history and, when taking part in the Cambridge expedition to the Torres Straits, he had intended to examine fauna and coral reefs as well as local customs.
Among the best known are the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897–1902), in which Franz Boas participated; the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits (1898), actually an interdisciplinary enterprise; and the French Mission Dakar-Djibouti (1931–3), which included a leading anthropologist, Marcel Griaule. Like the folklorists nearer home, the curiosity of the anthropologists was intensified by their belief that they were witnessing the last days of traditional or ‘primitive’ cultures that were doomed to extinction in the modern world.
Russian and North American explorations of the interior of these vast countries ran in parallel, with the Russians moving eastwards and the Americans westwards. Between 1803 and 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, chosen by President Jefferson to lead the ‘Corps of Discovery’, travelled from Pittsburgh to the Pacific Coast and back, exploring two-thirds of North America. Lewis described the planned expedition as ‘about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trodden’.