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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

General Strike - 80 Years Ago Today

Venturing into Jim West territory now: the General Strike began 80 years ago today. The strike originated among the miners who, let us not forget, have consistently had utterly justifiable complaints relating to pay and highly dangerous conditions throughout the C20. The Independent has an overview plus some very interesting personal accounts which highlight the ways in which such situations lead to some significant changes in political action and ideologies of believers. Note too the real potential there for changes in women's rights. It seems fairly obvious to me at least that collective action and in reaction to social change leads to changes in ideology among indivduals. Shouldn't such a methodological approach be more common in the historical study of Christian origins or does it have to be 'theological reductionism' instead?

7 Comments:

Blogger steph said...

Sadly the last to reap the benefits, still living in the dark ages or in it's own little world...
beat ya Jim! Seen Page's pithy apology?

May 03, 2006

 
Blogger Jim said...

At this moment there are Australian miners trapped, recently miners died in Mexico, and of course the 11 who died a few months back in West Virginia. Mining is incredibly unsafe.

May 03, 2006

 
Blogger J. B. Hood said...

Don't forget China--seems like they try to make sure they have one big accident every six months, just to remind the rest of us how good we have it at our 'desk' jobs. I also won't run the risk of missing the biggest moment of my "career" (say, failing a viva) on the basis of a broken metatarsal...poor Wayne.

That theory sounds fascinating, James, with lots of meaty possiblities; I think the American Civil Rights movement would be excellent confirmation on this. Perhaps you should have gone socio-hist with your dissertation (more so than NT).

May 03, 2006

 
Blogger steph said...

Jason, isn't it better to draw more socio-hist into NT study?

May 04, 2006

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

If one group ever had cause for better pay...

Jason, yes I'm sure you are right on the civil rights stuff. I've actually done a bit on this and I am moving more and more social history. Not wanting to plug the next book due out later this year but the next book is a socio-historical account of Christian origins which uses this kind of approach among others. I think my heart is more in social history than traditional exegesis to be honest.

May 04, 2006

 
Blogger J. B. Hood said...

I confess that's not my primary area of interest, although I've found some sociological studies interesting; McKnight and others like Stark have offered some "light" examples on conversion theory that are interesting; and of course Phil Harland's stuff.

"this kind of approach among others..." that in my mind is a weakness of Stark at least, and perhaps a primary reason he rarely gets cited: not enough "among others."

I do wonder if much of the socio-historical emphasis on trackable, community-centered traits and beliefs can sometimes miss the power of individual ideas and personal, un-quantifiable "angst" and genius: e.g., how do you really account for highly influential people like Mohammed with sociological models. I know there are some (obvious) social factors, but there's also some interesting one offs that seem to defy categorization.

May 04, 2006

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

It's true that some sociological readings can go too much in the direction of 'not others' if that makes sense but I'm still not convinced that is necessarily a bad thing. There's plenty of theological approaches to history so why not a more sociological reading?

The individual and social context is somethign I find genuinely interesting. Individuals are themselves products of a whole host of personal socio-psychological factors, many well beyond our knowledge (at least in ancient history). This accounts for one offs I think. My problem with genius etc is that it relies on a concept which I don't know is very helpful in that it sounds, well, slightly magical if that makes any sense. Otherwise, what is it? This is why I feel much more comfortable with the idea of removing the idea of genius (or whatever) as I think certain individuals can fill cerain gaps in history but they themselves are able to do so through a huge range of personal and social influences.

There is of course the charismatic leader stuff but I'm not really convinced by all that (that's another discussion).

May 08, 2006

 

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