The Politics of Primogeniture: Sex, Consciousness and Social Organisation in North Western Europe (900-1250 A.D.)

Philip Barker


In the   Historians Craftl, Marc Bloch poses a number of questions concerning the   characteristics of objects of historical research, to which he applies the   general term 'documents', be they archaeological remnants or texts. Indeed   this very classification reduces all historical phenomena to the status of a   text or sub-text, as he then elaborates: what do we really mean by document,   if it is not a 'track' as it were, the mark, perceptible to the senses, which   some phenomenon, in itself inaccessible has left behind?2 Bloch goes on to   use this formulation to develop a concept of historical research founded on   observation, a science of history bound to the observation of the 'tracks' of   a directly inaccessible phenomenon But, to whatever age of mankind the scholar   turns, the methods of observation remain almost uniformly dependent upon   'tracks', and are, therefore, fundamentally the same.3

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