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Article
Publication date: 4 June 2018

Roland Sintos Coloma

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between theory and history, or more specifically the role and use of theory in the field of history of education…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between theory and history, or more specifically the role and use of theory in the field of history of education. It will explore the following questions: What is theory, and what is it for? How do historians and, in particular, historians of education construe and use theory? And how do they respond to openly theoretical work? The author poses these questions in light of ongoing discussions in the field of history of education regarding the role, relevance, and utility of theory in historical research, analysis, and narratives.

Design/methodology/approach

The explicit use of theory in historical research is not altogether new, tracing an intellectual genealogy since the mid-1800s when disciplinary boundaries among academic fields were not so rigidly defined, developed and regulated. The paper analyzes three books that are geographically located in North America (USA), Australia, Europe (Great Britain) and Asia (India), thereby offering a transnational view of the use of theory in history of education. It also examines how historians of education respond to explicitly theoretical work by analyzing, as a case study, a 2011 special issue in History of Education Quarterly.

Findings

First, the paper delineates theory as a multidimensional concept and practice with varying and competing meanings and interpretations. Second, it examines three book-length historical studies of education that employ theoretical frameworks drawing from cultural, feminist poststructuralist and postcolonial approaches. The author’s analysis of these manuscripts reveals that historians of education who explicitly engage with theory pursue their research in reflexive, disruptive and generative modes. Lastly, it utilizes a recent scholarly exchange as a case study of how some historians of education respond to theoretically informed work. It highlights three lenses – reading with insistence, for resistance, and beyond – to understand the responses to the author’s paper on Foucault and poststructuralism.

Originality/value

Setting theory to work has a fundamentally transformative role to play in our thinking, writing and teaching as scholars, educators and students and in the productive re-imagining of history of education.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2019

Wim Van Lent and Gabrielle Durepos

This paper aims to explore the turn in management and organization studies (MOS) and reflect on “history as theory” versus “history as method”.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the turn in management and organization studies (MOS) and reflect on “history as theory” versus “history as method”.

Design/methodology/approach

Looking at previous research and the evolution of MOS, this paper situates the special issue papers in the current climate of this area of research.

Findings

The special issue papers included here each make a theoretical contribution to methodology in historical organization studies.

Originality/value

The eight articles featured in the special issue offer examples of innovative and historically sensitive methodology that, according to the authors, increase the management historian toolkit and ultimately enhance the methodological pluralism of historical organization studies as a field.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2005

Warren J. Samuels

The first set of introductory notes to the graduate study of the history of economic thought, and the reasons for their use, was published in Volume 22-B (2004)…

Abstract

The first set of introductory notes to the graduate study of the history of economic thought, and the reasons for their use, was published in Volume 22-B (2004). Subsequently, while distributing the first set in my graduate courses, I initiated a largely new, second set of introductory topics, using a new outline for presentation in each course of lectures on further introductory ontological, epistemological and hermeneutic topics that went beyond the materials in the first set. For several years, I lectured using in part an outline of my 1991 essay (cited below). That outline is reproduced here as Set II.1. The notes published below as Sets II.2 and II.3 are composites, as to content and sequence of topics, of subsequent successions of lectures. Whereas the set of notes published in Volume 22-B was distributed to students with only casual accompanying remarks, these served for me as the basis of lectures and were not distributed. No set of notes published here indicates the comments I made, from course to course, when distributing the first set of notes on the first day of class. One difference between II.1 and II.2–3 is the increasing attention to historiographic topics vis-à-vis discourse-analysis topics with the passage of time. The common elements are, first, the social construction of reality, in two senses: the literal creation of society and the interpretations given that creation; second, the distinctions between truth and belief system, and between truth and validity; third, the continuing relevance therefore of epistemology and ontology alongside the rhetoric of economics; fourth, the relations of epistemology and language to policy; and fifth, the importance of limits. During this period of time conflict had erupted between advocates of the rhetorical and epistemological approaches to the history of economic thought. I was teaching that both approaches to the meaningfulness of ideas were important.

Details

A Research Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-316-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2021

Rene Arseneault, Nicholous M. Deal and Jean Helms Mills

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question of where the course of the collective efforts in historical research on business and organizations has taken this…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question of where the course of the collective efforts in historical research on business and organizations has taken this discipline. By raising two key contributions that have sought to reshape the contours of management and organizational history, the authors trace the work of their field since their inception and, in doing so, critique the utility of these typologies as representative of diverse historical knowledge in management and organization studies (MOS).

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on elements of an integrative review that seeks to critically appraise the foundation of knowledge built in a scholarly field, the authors interrogate the historical knowledge that has been (and is being) produced in three leading management and organizational history journals by synthesizing the posture history takes as an object and subject of study in MOS. Over 400 articles were closely examined and categorized using Rowlinson et al.’s (2014) research strategies in organizational history and Maclean et al.’s (2016) four conceptions of history. Then, this research was used to examine the integrity of these two typologies and their practice by management historians.

Findings

The bulk of the work our field has produced mirrors an analytically structured history feel – where “doing history” straddles careful divide between data analysis and narrative construction. Narrating as a conception of history used in organization studies research remains the most subscribed representation of the past. It was found that while some work may fit within these typologies, others especially those considered peripheral of mainstream history are difficult to confine to any one strategy or conception. The authors’ examination also found some potential for a creative synthesis between the two typologies.

Research limitations/implications

Because only three management history journals are used in this analysis, bracketed by the choice of the periodization (between 2016 and 2019 inclusive), this study must not be viewed as being wholly representative of all historical research on business and organizations writ-large.

Practical implications

This research attempts to demonstrate the recent direction management and organizational historians have taken in crafting history. The authors embrace the opportunity to allow for this paper to act as a tool to familiarize a much broader audience to understand what has been constituted as historical research in MOS to-date and is especially useful to those who are already contributing to the field (e.g. doctoral students and junior scholars who have demonstrable interest in taking up historically inspired dissertations, articles, chapters and conference activities).

Originality/value

The research conducted in this article contributes to the debates that have sought to define the scholastic character of management and organizational history. The authors build on recent calls to take part in creating dialogue between and among each other, building on the collective efforts that advance history in both theory and practice.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Book part
Publication date: 21 August 2012

Paul Ingram, Hayagreeva Rao and Brian S. Silverman

Purpose – This chapter is intended to help strategy scholars evaluate when, why, and how to employ historical research methods in strategy research.…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter is intended to help strategy scholars evaluate when, why, and how to employ historical research methods in strategy research.

Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on theory and practice of historical research as well as on key examples from the history and strategy literatures, we develop a typology of research approaches to highlight the areas of potential complementarity between historical methods and “traditional” empirical methods in strategy. We then provide annotated examples of historical strategy research to highlight the benefits of this approach and to demonstrate how to make research-related decisions when employing such methods.

Findings – The chapter provides a step-by-step conceptual roadmap for conducting historical strategy research, primarily using an analytic narratives approach.

Originality/value – The chapter fulfills an explicit need for strategy scholars on the boundary of history. We anticipate that it will be a useful reference for those who are considering the use of history in their strategy research.

Details

History and Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-024-6

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Article
Publication date: 20 October 2020

Nicholous M. Deal, Milorad M. Novicevic, Albert J. Mills, Caleb W. Lugar and Foster Roberts

This paper aims to find common ground between the supposed incompatible meta-historical positioning of positivism and post-positivism through a turn to mnemohistory in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to find common ground between the supposed incompatible meta-historical positioning of positivism and post-positivism through a turn to mnemohistory in management and organizational history.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the idea of creative synthesis and positioning theory, the authors interject concepts from cultural memory studies in historical research on business and organizations to encourage management historians and organization theorists interested in joining the dialogue around how the past is known in the present. Using notions of “aftermath” and “events,” the idea of apositivism is written into historical organization studies to focus on understanding the complex ways of how past events translate into history. The critical historic turn event is raised as an exemplar of these ideas.

Findings

The overview of the emergence of the controversial historic turn in management and organization studies and the positioning of its adherents and antagonists revealed that there may be some commonality between the fragmented sense of the field. It was revealed that effective history vis-à-vis mnemohistory may hold the potential of a shared scholarly ethic.

Originality/value

The research builds on recent work that has sought to bring together the boundaries of management and organizational history. This paper explains how mnemohistory can offer a common position that is instrumental for theorizing the relationships among the past-infused constructs such as organizational heritage, legacy and identity.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2020

Bradley Bowden

Management history has in the past 15 years witnessed growing enthusiasm for “critical” research methodologies associated with the so-called “historic turn”. This paper…

Abstract

Purpose

Management history has in the past 15 years witnessed growing enthusiasm for “critical” research methodologies associated with the so-called “historic turn”. This paper aims to argue, however, that the “historic turn” has proved to an “historic wrong turn”, typically associated with confused and contradictory positions. In consequence, Foucault’s belief that knowledge is rooted in discourse, and that both are rooted in external structures of power, is used while simultaneously professing advocacy of White’s understanding that history is fictive, the product of the historian’s imagination.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores the intellectual roots of the historic (wrong) turn in the idealist philosophies of Nietzsche, Croce, Foucault, White and Latour as well as the critiques that have been made of those theories from within “critical” or “Left” theoretical frameworks.

Findings

Failing to properly acknowledge the historical origin of their ideas and/or the critiques of those ideas – and misrepresenting all contrary opinion as “positivist” – those associated with the historic (wrong) turn replicate the errors of their theoretical champions. The author thus witnesses a confusion of ontology (the nature of being) and epistemology (the nature of knowledge) and, consequently, of “facts” (things that exist independently of our fancy), “evidence” (how ascertain knowledge of a fact) and “interpretation” (how I connect evidence to explain an historical outcome).

Originality/value

Directed toward an examination of the conceptual errors that mark the so-called “historic turn” in management studies, this article argues that the holding contradictory positions is not an accidental by-product of the “historic turn”. Rather, it is a defining characteristic of the genre.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Book part
Publication date: 22 September 2015

Sébastien Rioux

Recent decades have witnessed great interest in Leon Trotsky’s idea of uneven and combined development (UCD) by Marxist scholars of International Relations (IR). A…

Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed great interest in Leon Trotsky’s idea of uneven and combined development (UCD) by Marxist scholars of International Relations (IR). A burgeoning literature has argued that one interpretation, Justin Rosenberg’s U&CD, resolves the question of ‘the international’ by offering a single, non-Realist theory capable of uniting both sociological and geopolitical factors in the explanation of social change across history. Evaluating this claim, this paper argues that the transhistorical ways in which U&CD has been developed reproduce, reaffirm and reinforce some of the more important shortcomings of Realist IR. I develop my argument through an internal critique of Rosenberg’s conception of U&CD, which, I argue, is illustrative of larger shortcomings within the literature. I conclude that the political and geopolitical economy of UCD and their dynamics must be grasped through the specific social and historical relations in which they are immersed.

Details

Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-295-5

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2018

Nicholas Kavish and Brian Boutwell

Criminology has produced more than a century of informative research on the social correlates of criminal behavior. Recently, a growing body of theoretical and empirical…

Abstract

Purpose

Criminology has produced more than a century of informative research on the social correlates of criminal behavior. Recently, a growing body of theoretical and empirical work has begun to apply evolutionary principles, particularly from life history theory (LHT), to the study of crime. As this body of research continues to grow, it is important that work in this area synthesizes evolutionary principles with the decades of sociological research on the correlates of crime. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The current paper reviews the brief history of research applying life history concepts to criminology, providing an overview of the underlying framework, exploring examples of empirically testable and tested hypotheses that have been derived from the theory, discussing cautions and criticisms of life history research, and discussing how this area of research can be further integrated with existing theory.

Findings

A growing body of research has, with relative consistency, associated indicators of a faster life history strategy with aggression and violence in humans and across the animal kingdom. Research into these associations is still vulnerable to genetic confounding and more research with genetically sensitive designs is needed. The use of hypotheses informed by evolutionary insight and tested with genetically sensitive designs provides the best option for understanding how environmental factors can have an impact on violent and criminal behavior.

Originality/value

The current paper provides an updated review of the growing application of LHT to the study of human behavior and acknowledges criticisms and areas of concern that need to be considered when forming hypotheses for research.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2020

Bradley Bowden and Peta Stevenson-Clarke

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in…

Abstract

Purpose

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in other business disciplines. However, in large part, the debates in accounting history and management history, have moved in parallel but separate universes. The purpose of this study is therefore one of exploring not only critical accounting understandings that are significant for management history but also one of highlighting conceptual flaws that are common to the postmodernist literature in both accounting and management history.

Design/methodology/approach

Foucault has been seminal to the critical traditions that have emerged in both accounting research and management history. In exploring the usage of Foucault’s ideas, this paper argues that an over-reliance on a set of Foucauldian concepts – governmentality, “disciplinary society,” neo-liberalism – that were never conceived with an eye to the problems of accounting and management has resulted in not only in the drawing of some very longbows from Foucault’s formulations but also misrepresentations of the French philosophers’ ideas.

Findings

Many, if not most, of the intellectual positions associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History – that knowledge is inherently subjective, that management involves exercising power at distance, that history is a social construct that is used to legitimate capitalism and management – were argued in the critical accounting literature long before Clark and Rowlinson’s (2004) oft cited call. Indeed, the “call” for a “New Accounting History” issued by Miller et al. (1991) played a remarkably similar role to that made by Clark and Rowlinson in management and organizational studies more than a decade later.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore the marked similarities between the critical accounting literature, most particularly that related to the “New Accounting History” and that associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History in management and organizational studies.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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