In this groundbreaking study, renowned historian Rudolph Binion develops a whole new understanding of human history. Exploring the collective dimension of human behavior in various historic contexts, he argues that people participate in purposeful group actions while pursuing only their own individual ends as far as they know. The basic moving force in history thus emerges as neither individual motives nor abstract tendencies such as modernization or globalization, but group process operating in concealment. "Past Impersonal" synthesizes decades of Binion's innovative and exhaustive research to show how groups act behind the scenes of history, leading lives of their own independent of individual volition. Through several complementary historic case studies ranging over two millenniums, Binion demonstrates how individuals pursue group purposes, or hidden group agendas, unawares. He discerns three basic modes of group action - adaptive, maladaptive, and symbolic - that may combine, work at cross purposes, or go their separate ways.
He draws his material from a rich sampling of mankind's political, social, and cultural past, using quantitative analysis and depth psychology with equal ease and expertise while turning even iconography and epidemiology to new account. Written with both rigor and grace, vividly illustrated to clarify its argument, "Past Impersonal" is a multidisciplinary virtuoso performance: it draws on all the conventional approaches to history while also transcending them.
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
Number of pages: 218
Weight: 490 g
Dimensions: 236 x 161 x 19 mm