1700-talsstudier och vetenskapsutveckling: tankar om Marie-Christine Skuncke


  • Björn Wittrock Uppsala universitet




Marie-Christine Skuncke, literature, eighteenth-century studies


In the first part of the essay, three profiles of scholarly engagement are discerned. In the oeuvre of Marie-Christine Skuncke two of these types of engagement are prominent, namely those that pertain to a widening of a scholarly field and an opening up of conceptually new fields of investigation and imagination. Her career encompasses studies of literary forms of expressiveness, in particular in opera and theatre, which she links to studies of rhetoric, rules of governance and of princely upbringing . She has also rendered contributions to the study of the emergence of new public spheres. This research is characterized by an understanding that includes attention to both national, cultural, and disciplinary traditions. In the second part, the focus is on the rationale of temporal demarcations in historical research and in particular in what sense eighteenth-century studies may constitute a scholarly field except in purely pragmatic terms. The relatively arbitrary nature of demarcations in the writing of national histories is highlighted. Analogously, a tradition among global historians is noted to emphasize economic and political transformations relative to cultural and conceptual ones. Marie-Christine Skuncke has however joined a growing number of scholars who transcend these limitations and who engage in the writing of global historical developments from a vantage point that recognizes the cultural and intellectual underpinnings of institutional transformations.


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Author Biography

Björn Wittrock, Uppsala universitet

BJÖRN WITTROCK (f. 1945), är direktor för Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) och lärostolsprofessor vid Uppsala universitet. Han har skrivit ett stort antal arbeten om den moderna staten, det moderna universitetet och de moderna samhällvetenskapernas uppkomst och utveckling men har också bidragit till förnyelsen av historiskt inriktad samhällsvetenskap. Han har gett ut 18 böcker, däribland som medförfattare av Social Sciences and Modern States (1991), The European and American University Since 1800 (1993), The Rise of the Social Sciences and the Formation of Modernity: Conceptual Change in Context, 1750-1850 (1998), Eurasian Transformations, Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries (2004), Axial Civilizations and World History (2004) och Frontiers of Sociology (2009). Wittrock är ledamot av Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien och av Academia Europaea.