A sociological research on Eric Hobsbawm's conception of history

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Istanbul University, Institute Of Social Sciences, Edebiyat Fakültesi Bölümü, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Thesis Language: Turkish

Student: Olçum Akyüz

Supervisor: Mehmet Ali Akyurt


This thesis is a sociological research on the life and works of Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012). This study consists of four chapters. In the first chapter, Hobsbawm's biography and his conception of history have been evaluated sociologically. As a multilingual and multicultural intellectual, Hobsbawm is now recognized within the British Marxist Historians Group. His historiography focuses on the 19th century when industrialization was ensured and sociology was established as an independent discipline, and on 20th century which was shaped by World wars, economic, social and political crisis. Hobsbawm has contributed to the field of knowledge of history as well as to the field of knowledge of sociology, by considering the different strata of society with history from below approach. According to Hobsbawm who considers common people as the main actor of history, history is a broad base includes art, religion, social life and economy besides politics. Although Hobsbawm mentions about different geographies in historical evaluations, it can be said that his evaluations are European based. In the second chapter, theorists and their work, which influenced Hobsbawm and formed his intellectual infrastructure, were taken into consideration from the frames of Hobsbawm. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Gramsci's works and ideas were evaluated from Hobsbawm's studies. In the third chapter, social movements, as the first of Hobsbawm's two main fields of study, have been evaluated, modern and pre-modern social movements are discussed. In this context, the movements are explained by periods which are pre-political and political movements and by the actors who are workers and peasants. The historical continuity between these distinctions is emphasized on the basis of Hobsbawm's views. In the fourth chapter, world history, as the second of Hobsbawm's two main fields of study, has been evaluated. In world history studies which contributed the most to the recognition in different countries, he studied the development and spread of imperialism.