Edited by Esperanza Morales-López and Alan Floyd
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 71] 2017
► pp. 2–15
Chapter 1. Constructionism in historical writing
Even though it is not a science in the modernist sense of the term, history remains foundational – a necessary presupposition – of modern social sciences. History serves as a paradigm referent for contrast with both abstract natural sciences and literary or artistic fictions. Indeed, history serves as the very antonym of fiction in discussions of the nature of a fact. And yet, history considered as a domain of events that are “real” rather than “imaginary,” can be shown on analysis to be as much “constructed” as “found” in the data it considers to be evidence of the reality of its referent (the past). Construction in historiography begins with the initial description of its referent as a historical phenomenon, moves on through the establishment of the “factuality” of this phenomenon and ends in the composition of a series of historical facts as a story. Stories are not pictures of reality or even representations thereof; they are presentations in fictional modes of an unobservable past treated as reality.
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