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New Social History

Under the name of the New Social History in the world of science of the middle of the second half of the 20th century, we usually understand a powerful intellectual movement, calling into question the traditional methods of historical knowledge and writing, developed by the scientific thought of the 19th century. Also, this movement challenged the existing system of the organization of scientific knowledge in society, when sciences are subdivided into separate with well-defined field of research disciplines (Hoefferle 177).

The New Social History claimed the idea of integrity – an ensemble of human (social) sciences with the new method of approach to the knowledge of the past in its cultural and social integrity (totality), in which history (as opposed to the philosophy positivist conception of sociology, or – in the theories of its critics) had a role of the special space, synthesizing knowledge and learning (Hoefferle 183). It became the manifest of new professional consciousness and a new image of science as a discipline of historical analysis, which seeks to penetrate deeper than taking facts lying on the surface.

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One of the examples of the New Social History can serve demographic history. It is the direction of research in social history, studying demographic processes, i.e. in the general population reproduction in whole or in changing the total population due to births and deaths. Demographic history explores issues such as reproduction of the population, i.e. generational change as a result of natural population movement, the dynamics of migration (emigration and immigration), and population loss due to death at different ages.

Demography has a clearly defined object of study – the population. Demography studies the size, geographical location, and composition of the population, the patterns of their changes on the basis of social, economic, and biological and geographical factors. Demographic history sees these factors in retrospective making it possible to analyze the data obtained earlier.

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The subject of historical research, according to Bloch, Foucault, Daron, and other representative of Linguistic Turn style of historiography, is a person over the time (Hoefferle 213). They come from the fact that human consciousness is not uniform over the time, and changes under the influence of various factors. The task of the researcher is to understand the human past. In order to penetrate into the consciousness of others, the researcher has to renounce their own "I", as well as the researcher does not have to ascribe to it the consciousness of their own features. In this relation, the relationship between subject and object of research can be defined as a meeting of people in centuries, and the purpose of any such study is to understand the human past (Hoefferle 226).

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In this frame, we can acknowledge that chronological division of historical time for centuries, years and other items is incorrect. The relevant unit of change in the classification time, in this case, is the chronological period that suits the nature of the subject best. Each type of phenomena is characterized by its own special measure of changes density, its own specific notation. The transformations of social structure, economy, religions, ways of thinking is impossible without distortion when squeezing them into too tight timeframes. Thus, historical time is not characterized by strict units, the same limited scope, and time periods consistent with its internal rhythm.

In order to analyze a person or a society successfully, a researcher must have tools for analysis. Such tools are the words regarding the given historical event. Any historical term must be associated with its environment, placed in its era, and be protected from misinterpretation. Any word can bear the imprint of the era – in a negative or positive attitude. Thus, researchers must reckon with the realities of this kind. Numerous studies of the Vietnam War can serve a good example of a research of the type. There is a certain vocabulary connected with this war, also, it is often viewed in times and in conjunction with people without paying special attention to the time when it happened.

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There are numerous approaches to historiography and each of them views history from a different perspective. I suppose that certain events claim to be described in a specific form in order to bring better understanding to future generations about what happened at that time.

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