Eric Hobsbawm: A Historian in Search of the Future Cover Image

Erik Hobsbaum: istoričar u potrazi za budućnošću
Eric Hobsbawm: A Historian in Search of the Future

Author(s): Milan Subotić
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institut za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju
Keywords: Hobsbawm; social history; marxism; postmodernism; communism; historical knowledge;

Summary/Abstract: In this paper the author interpreted the historiographic span of work of Eric Hobsbawm, one of the most famous and most influential contemporary historians. Bearing in mind the extensiveness and complexity of this span of work, the author limited his analysis to two theoretical problems – Hobsbawm's view of the concept of “social history” and the exploration of the function of “historical materialism” in the emergence and realisation of this concept. In the author's opinion, Marxism served Hobsbawm as a productive theoretical standpoint in the thematisation of the history of the “long 19th century”, but it prevented him from understanding more fully the “short 20th century” (The Age of Extremes). The basic reason for this lies in the fact that the “Soviet experiment” which in essence defined the 20th century cannot be explained from the “historical-materialistic” perspective. It is precisely in the theoretical deficits of the Marxist theoretical paradigm, and not in Hobsbawm's political bias, that the author identifies the basic cause for the weakness of his interpretation of the epoch of Communism. For this reason, in the final part of the paper the author formulated the thesis on the necessity of formulating a new theoretical framework and conceptual apparatus which would provide us not only with a better understanding of the past, but of the present and the future as well.

  • Issue Year: 20/2009
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 159-193
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: Serbian