The history of events: ideology and historiography

Gold, John Robert and Gold, Margaret (2020) The history of events: ideology and historiography. In: The Routledge Handbook of Events (2nd edition). Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780367236489


This chapter explores the contribution that explicit analysis of historical writings can make to the study of events. In particular, it explores three related propositions. The first concerns “narrative”, understood here as a structured account, rendered in textual form, of a sequence of events that occurred in the past. The second proposition continues the story-telling theme, noting that it is important to recognise the ways that events can be used to represent specific causes and to understand the consequences of doing so. In this regard, we point to the importance of the rich and multifaceted concept of “representation”. The third proposition concerns “narration”, or the way in which the story is told. Here, we argue that understanding of the history of events would benefit from more explicit recognition of the multiple ways in which that history has been, and could be, written. Case studies of the Salzburg Festival, the visit of George IV to Edinburgh in 1822, and the history of the modern Olympic Games are used to illustrate these propositions in turn.

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