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On the Future of HistoryThe Postmodernist Challenge and Its Aftermath$
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Ernst Breisach

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226072791

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226072814.001.0001

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Views with Postmodernist Affinities

Views with Postmodernist Affinities

Chapter:
9 Views with Postmodernist Affinities
Source:
On the Future of History
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226072814.003.0009

In history, the social energy that shaped temporary forms of unity also caused their decline when its initial strength dissipated. Historians have often spoken about exhausted states, empires, and societies, but have embedded such talk usually into cyclical theories of decadence. Adams, much in the manner of structural postmodernists, referred to one universal history with its development and end. As in Cournot's view, the much-vaunted idea of progress would be the major force that drove history to its ironic end in permanent stability. The acceleration of innovations and change witnessed not just a greater human control over the world but also the accelerating dissipation of social energy. The function of the modern period was thus ultimately a destructive one.

Keywords:   universal history, structural postmodernists, postmodernist affinities, progress, stability, innovation, social energy

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