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  • Kontext och kritik

    Adam Kjellgren

    Chapter from the book: Bergwik, S et al. 2022. Konsten att kontextualisera: Om historisk förståelse och meningsskapande.


    Context and critique
    This chapter deals with two ideal-typical approaches to historical texts: one termed critical and the other termed contextual. If exponents of the first approach criticize historical texts from a contemporary perspective, champions of the latter seek to understand such texts in “their own” historical context. The chapter discusses advantages and disadvantages with each approach, emphasizing that the contextual approach makes visible the value of studying historical actors with whom one does not agree, while the critical one seems easier to combine with politically engaged, reform-oriented aspiration. Moreover, the chapter demonstrates ways in which the contextual and critical approach presuppose and/or re-enforce each other, arguing that a historically rooted critique might be more effective than the ahistorical counterpart. The chapter ends with a discussion on how the author has sought to combine a critical interest of knowledge with a contextual method in his own research, on political myth. The author points out how much earlier research on this topic has been of a critical kind, aimed at determining which historical actor’s concept of myth is better. However, a contextual approach serves to enable a deepened understanding of why different actors have made use of different concepts of myth, by looking at the historical contexts within which these actors have worked. The chapter argues that such an understanding can fulfil a critical function as it fosters a more informed, reflexive attitude towards the contemporary debate on myth and politics.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Kjellgren, A. 2022. Kontext och kritik. In: Bergwik, S et al (eds.), Konsten att kontextualisera. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbt.c

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on April 12, 2022


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