History in the Making: National and International Politics in a Rural Cretan Community

  • Michael Herzfeld
Part of the St Antony’s / Macmillan Series book series


The distinction between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern(ising)’ society implies a sharp break. Behind it shelters a series of subordinate but equally value-laden oppositions: myths versus history, ritual versus science, rural versus urban, metaphor versus literality. Yet these are tropological distinctions in their own right.2 They imply radically divergent understandings of time and event, and of the economy of knowledge. In these terms, the representation of current and past events becomes an important dimension of field research, much neglected in societies with a long-established, official or canonical history. The question that emerges is less whether ‘traditional societies’ participate in ‘our’ concepts of time,3 than whether any society can claim to have achieved the purely literal understanding of the past that scientific definitions of temporality presuppose.


Democracy Party Symbolic Capital Historical Writing Party Polity Europe Observe 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1992

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  • Michael Herzfeld

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