By Peter Burke

Peter Burke follows up his magisterial Social background of Knowledge, selecting up the place the 1st quantity left off round 1750 on the e-book of the French Encyclopédie and following the tale via to Wikipedia. just like the earlier quantity, it bargains a social historical past (or a retrospective sociology of information) within the experience that it focuses no longer on members yet on teams, associations, collective practices and basic traits.

The publication is split into three elements. the 1st argues that actions which seem to be undying - collecting wisdom, analysing, disseminating and utilizing it - are in reality time-bound and take varied kinds in numerous sessions and areas. the second one half attempts to counter the tendency to put in writing a triumphalist heritage of the 'growth' of information by means of discussing losses of data and the cost of specialization. The 3rd half bargains geographical, sociological and chronological overviews, contrasting the event of centres and peripheries and arguing that every of the most tendencies of the interval - professionalization, secularization, nationalization, democratization, and so forth, coexisted and interacted with its opposite.

As ever, Peter Burke provides a breath-taking diversity of scholarship in prose of exemplary readability and accessibility. This hugely expected moment quantity may be crucial examining around the humanities and social sciences.

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