The Origins of English Individualism: The Family Property and Social Transition (英語) ペーパーバック – 1988/12
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
The Origins of English Individualism is about the nature of English society during the five centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution, and the crucial differences between England and other European nations. Drawing upon detailed studies of English parishes and a growing number of other intensive local studies, as well as diaries, legal treatises and contemporary foreign sources, the author examines the framework of change in England. He suggests that there has been a basic misrepresentation of English history and that this has considerable implications both for our understanding of modern British and American society, and for current theories concerning the preconditions of industrialization.
"Historians are said to be moving back towards the idea of an enduring national identity. Alan Macfarlane wrote a paradigm-busting book back in the late 1970s, The Origins of English Individualism. That must have taken courage considering the sort of a decade it was ... A brilliant analysis."
The Independent --このテキストは、ハードカバー版に関連付けられています。
The inferences from the scholarship in this work fit into the more recent studies of those historic phenomena: "Bourgeois Virtues" and "Bourgeois Dignity" by Deirdre McCloskey (which are available on Kindle).
The recent works: "The Great Stagnation" and "Average is Over" by Tyler Cowan and the even more recent contrary views of Edmund Phelps in his "Mass Flourishing" will lead to a discerning reader to think about the role of individuality, the decline or recession of that role in our society today (as noted by Michael Oakeshott's essay "The Masses in Representative Democracy" contained in his "Rationalism in Politics").
Those with a serious interest in understanding the broad cultural shifts over extensive historical periods, and the effects now being noted in our own times, may also note a link of understanding individuality with the work of Emmanuel Todd, particularly "Causes of Progress," which is currently out of print and probably difficult to find.
This is a work of a scholar of history and a great deal of the detail in the text concerns the nature of the scholarship and investigations supporting conclusions that are at odds with what were broad spread assumptions of the similarities of the social groupings in England to those on the continent and to those encountered in later periods in less developed areas of the world. However, one can read through that detailed material rather rapidly and recognize that it does support the conclusions of the distinctions and differences in English social order during the periods under study, which preceded the Industrial Revolution, but were undoubtedly the groundwork for its establishment in England.
The author acknowledges that the established view is especially appealing to our modern hope for development in the third world (improving life from harsh, "nasty, brutish and short" to humane, mobile and affluent with loving, nuclear families) and also offers the attractive notion of "progress" from "lower" to "higher" forms of societal organization.
The primary implication of his thesis is that there is no necessary set of evolutionary stages from feudalism to individualism, from hierarchy to equality. Rather, these are alternative systems, which may coexist in time. Further, the nuclear family system, far from being a recent and transient development (as many have claimed), is ancient, durable and flexible, its simple molecular structure very likely allowing societal change to proceed rapidly in areas such as industrialization and urbanization. The theory sheds light on why market liberalism has failed to take root in the third world.
While Macfarlane traces the roots of Western individualism and capitalism to the early 13th century and suspects Germanic roots before that, his thesis ties nicely into the notion of the Great Tradition, defended by Lord Acton and others (see M. Stanton Evans' The Theme is Freedom for a modern defense), which asserts that these traits, along with libery, progress, popular sovereignty, science, the rule of law and many other Western values are actually God-given fruits of the Judeo-Christian tradition, beginning with the ancient Israelies and tracing through classical times and are definitely not recent inventions of modern rationalist man.
I give it four stars for fascinating conclusions and implications, although the extensive discussion of source evidence, while necessary, may be tedious at times for some readers.