Beginning in the late 1970s, social history was criticized for its tendency to privilege "normal" behavior, its overdependence on static structures, and on categorizing individuals in preset groups. In replacing social history as the dominant new prospective on the past, cultural historians tried to address some of the serious questions raised about the methods of social historians while they adopted the new subjects that social historians had brought into the field. In their revised strategies, cultural historians brought back into awareness issues relating to the contingent, the personal, and the eccentric. At the same time, in swinging away from the vigorous research methods and forms of disciplined inquiry that had become the hallmarks of social historians, cultural historians frequently fell into a variety of problems that have now become quite visible in the field. By urging that the close alliance between cultural and social history be refreshed, Paula Fass suggests ways in which contemporary cultural historians can strengthen their research and writing by learning from the methods and strategies of social history.

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pp. 39-46
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