Capitalism has been a controversial concept. In the second half of the 20th century, many historians have either not used the concept at all, or only in passing. Many regarded the term as too broad, holistic and vague or too value-loaded, ideological and polemic. This volume brings together leading scholars to explore why the term has recently experienced a comeback and assess how useful the term can be in application to social and economic history.
The contributors discuss whether and how the history of capitalism enables us to ask new questions, further explore unexhausted sources and discover new connections between previously unrelated phenomena. The chapters address case studies drawn from around the world, giving attention to Europe, Africa and beyond.
This is a timely reassessment of a crucial concept, which will be of great interest to scholars and students of economic history.
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About the Author
Jürgen Kocka is Professor Emeritus at the Free University and the Social Science Center, Berlin, Germany, as well as a Permanent Fellow of the Center “Work and Life Course in Global Historical Perspective” at Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.
Marcel van der Linden is Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Social History, holds a professorship at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and is President of the International Social History Association.
Table of Contents
Introduction (Jürgen Kocka, Social Science Research Center, Germany)
1. Economic and Financial Crises (Youssef Cassis, European University Institute, Italy)
2. Work and Labour Relations (Andrea Komlosy, University of Vienna, Austria)
3. The Crisis of Hyper-Consumerism: Capitalism's Latest Forward Lurch (Victoria de Grazia, Columbia University, USA)
4. Is There a Returban of Capitalism in Business History? (Patrick Fridenson, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France)
5. Finance Capitalism (Harold James, Princeton University, USA)
6. Capitalism and Labour in Sub-Saharan Africa (Andreas Eckert, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)
7. Capitalism as an Essential Concept to Understand Modernity (Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University, USA)
8. The Returban of Capitalism as a Concept (Gareth Austin, The Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland)
9. The New History of Capitalism (Sven Beckert, Harvard University, USA)
Final Thoughts (Marcel van der Linden, International Institute for Social History, the Netherlands)