(un)common ground

a commonplace book

The Right (Hi)story

As Alun Munslow has suggested, in a post-modern world we must accept that we cannot hope to really know the past: all we are really doing is considering a number of possible versions of ‘the past-as-history.’ Given that all history is an ‘aesthetic, subjective and ironically construed cultural creation,’ essentially a story about the past, it is also necessary to accept that the evaluation of one as more authentic or true than another is a problematic concept. … After all, all history is a ‘personal, impressionistic and expressive undertaking that always exceeds the empirical’ and thus it remains ‘impossible to know if it is the “right” (hi)story.’

Katherine Byrne on Alun Munslow, “Adapting Heritage: Class and conservatism in Downton Abbey,” Rethinking History, 2014

I really like the deconstruction of historiography here. This gets to the idea (very important to media studies…) that narrative shapes reality. Written history exceeds the empirical because the empirical is not to hand for the historiographer. Storytelling necessarily constrains and delimits reality (as I’ve considered in reading Bourdieu on news) in a practice that Byrne, via Munslow, vividly describes. And what is news but a practice in fast historiography?


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This entry was posted on March 30, 2016 by and tagged , , .
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