Quantitative history
in The houses of history
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The term 'quantitative history' covers a range of methodologies and theoretical bases, linked by their reliance on numerical data. Almost all historical writing involves quantification, however, whether implicit or explicit. Less methodologically controversial than the new economic history is the use of data to produce historical series, that is, serial history. The French Annales historians in particular used serial history to throw light on cultural as well as economic and demographic phenomena. This chapter discusses historical demography which gives access to a much greater proportion of historical societies than does the analysis of most historical documents. From a structuralist point of view, demography has been linked with social structures and political stability in primarily agrarian societies to consider medium term secular cycles. Simultaneously, historians are considering the theoretical and methodological impacts of the digital age on history research and writing.

The houses of history

A critical reader in history and theory, second edition

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