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Beyond Comparison: Histoire Croise and the Challenge of Reflexivity Author(s): Michael Werner and Bndicte Zimmermann Source: History and Theory, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Feb., 2006), pp. 30-50 Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3590723 . Accessed: 22/01/2014 05:34
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History and Theory45 (February2006), 30-50

? Wesleyan University 2006 ISSN: 0018-2656

BEYOND COMPARISON: HISTOIRE CROISEE AND THE CHALLENGE OF REFLEXIVITY1

MICHAELWERNERAND BENEDICTEZIMMERMANN

ABSTRACT This article presents, in a programmaticway, the histoire croisee approach,its methodological implications and its empirical developments. Histoire croisde draws on the debates about comparativehistory, transferstudies, and connected or shared history that have been carriedout in the social sciences in recent years. It invites us to reconsiderthe interactionsbetween differentsocieties or cultures,eruditedisciplines or traditions(more generally,between social and culturalproductions).Histoire croisee focuses on empirical intercrossingsconsubstantialwith the object of study, as well as on the operations by which researchersthemselves cross scales, categories, and viewpoints. The article first shows how this approachdiffers from purely comparative or transfer studies. It then develops the principles of pragmaticand reflexive induction as a major methodological principleof histoire croisee. While underliningthe need and the methods of a historicization of both the objects and categories of analysis, it calls for a reconsiderationof the way history can combine empirical and reflexive concerns into a dynamic and flexible approach. I. INTRODUCTION Over the past twenty years, ideas about the conditions and ways in which sociohistorical knowledge is produced have undergone significant changes. Two sets of factors, stemming both from internal developments in the social sciences as well as from the more general political context, have jointly produced their effects. On the political side, the changes that have taken place since 1989, coupled with the expansion and proliferation of spaces of reference and actionglobalization, to use the now standard term-have left their mark on research paradigms, bringing new importance to the question of reflexivity. On the intelthe lectual side, the "culturalist turn," by emphasizing the specificity-indeed, irreducible nature-of the local has contributed to refining our understanding of the differentiated functioning of societies and cultures, while at the same time bringing about a fragmentation of knowledge, thereby showing it in a relativist
1. This article draws upon argumentsfirst developed in Annales HSS 58:1 (January-February 2003), 7-36 and in De la comparaison a l'histoire croisde, ed. Michael Werner and B6nedicte Zimmermann (Le Genrehumain42) (Paris:Seuil, 2004), 15-49. We extend our warmthanksfor their suggestions and comments to Sebastian Conrad,Yves Cohen, AlexandreEscudier, HeidrunFriese, Jean-YvesGrenier,RainerMariaKiesow, Andr6Orlean,JacquesPoloni, Jay Rowell, LucetteValensi, and PeterWagner,with whom we have discussed various aspects of our histoire croisde proposal.

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AND THE CHALLENGEOF REFLEXIVITY HISTOIRECROISEE

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light.2The questions resultingfrom the collapse of colonialism have, moreover, social sciences. had an impact on the previouslydominantposition of "Western" of of intellectual and "imperialism" strategies political domination, Suspected their universalistic ambition has been weakened.3 These developments have within each discipline, as well as new stances promptedinternalreorganizations regardingthe place of the social sciences within the largerapparatusof the production of knowledge. These shifts raise questions relating directly to research practices, the way sources and the fields themselves are approached.The proposal for histoire croisee that we elaborateon herein fits within this general trend. The notion of histoire croisde, which has been employed for almost ten years now in the social and human sciences, has given rise to differing usages. In most cases, it refers, in a vague manner,to one or a group of histories associated with the idea of an unspecifiedcrossing or intersection;thus, it tends towarda mere configurationof events that is more or less structured by the crossing metaphor.Sometimes, these in to crossed histories the refer plural. However, this common and relausages use should be distinguishedfrom researchpractices that tively undifferentiated reflect a more specific approach.In the latter case, histoire croisde associates social, cultural,and political formations,generally at the nationallevel, that are assumed to bear relationships to one another.4 It furthermoreengages in an inquiryregardingthe very process of intercrossingin practicalas well as intellectual terms. The present article aims at clarifying this more specific approach throughan explorationof the concept of histoire croisee within currenttheoretical and methodological debates. Once so specified in empirical and theoretical terms, histoire croisle can make a useful contributionto most of the humanand social-science disciplines. Three preliminaryremarkswill guide our examination.First, histoire croiste approachesthat, in the mannerof comparabelongs to the family of "relational" and "shared and studiesof transfers(mostrecentlyof "connected" tive approaches history")examine the links between varioushistoricallyconstitutedformations.5
2. For a presentationof the problematicin a Germanresearchfield, see Ute Daniel, Kompendium Theorien,Praxis, Schliisselwdrter(Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Kulturgeschichte: Verlag,2001). 3. The literaturein this area is flourishing. For a recent overview, refer to the dossier "Une histoire a l'6chelle globale" in Annales HSS 56:1 (2001), 3-123. For an example of a case study, see Daniel Dubuisson,L'Occidentet la religion: Mythes,science et iddologie (Paris:Editions Complexe, 1998). a propos 4. On this type of usage, see in particular Michael Werner,"Le prismefranco-allemand: in EntreLocarno et Vichy:Les relations culturelles d'une histoirecrois6e des disciplines litt6raires," franco-allemandes dans les anndes 1930, ed. Hans Manfred Bock, Reinhart Meyer-Kalkus, and Michel Trebitsch(Paris:CNRS-Editions, 1993), I, 303-316; Le travail et la nation: Histoire croisde Claude Didry,and PeterWagner(Paris: de la France et de 1'Allemagne,ed. B6n6dicteZimmermann, Editionsde la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 1999). For a more completepresentationof the concept of histoire croisee applied to problems of transnationalhistory, see Michael Werner and Der Ansatz der Histoire croisee und die Transfer,Verflechtung: B6n6dicteZimmermann,"Vergleich, des Transnationalen," Geschichte und Gesellschaft 28 (2002), 607-636. Herausforderung 5. Ourinterestin histoire croisee first arose throughour own practiceof comparativemethodsand transferstudies. The limits that this practice came up against for certainobjects of study were the startingpoint for this reflection.That is why we preferto discuss histoire croisde in relationto comand "entangled" hisparativehistory and transferstudies, while considering"connected,""shared," tories more as alternativesto these first two approaches,in the same manneras histoire croisde,even

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But, while these approaches mainly take the perspective of "reof buriedreality,the stresslaid by histoirecroisee on establishment/rehabilitation" a multiplicity of possible viewpoints and the divergences resulting from lanand conceptualizations, traditions,and disguages, terminologies,categorizations ciplinary usages, adds anotherdimension to the inquiry.In contrastto the mere restitutionof an "alreadythere,"histoire croisde places emphasis on what, in a self-reflexive process, can be generativeof meaning. Second, histoire croisee takes up anew the discussions carriedout over recent years regardingcomparativeapproaches,transfers,and, more generally, sociocultural interactions. In particular,it offers new leads for getting beyond the stalematein the debate between comparativistsand transferspecialists,6without diminishing the contributionsmade by these two approacheson which it draws heavily. It therebymakes it possible to apprehend entirely new phenomenausing renewed frameworksof analysis, and insofar as it does so, it presentsopportunities for exploring, from a particularangle, more general questions such as those concerningscales, categories of analysis, the relationshipbetween diachronyand synchrony,and regimes of historicityand reflexivity.Third,histoire croisle raises the question of its own historicity througha threefold process of historicization: throughthe object, the categories of analysis, and the relationshipsbetween
if each of them has particularities.On Connected History, see The Making of the Modern World: ConnectedHistories, Divergent Paths (1500 to the Present), ed. Robert W. Strayer(New York:St. "ConnectedHistories:Notes towarda Reconfiguration MartinsPress, 1989); SanjaySubrahmanyam, of Early ModernEurasia," ModernAsian Studies 31:3 (1997), 735-762; Serge Gruzinski,"Les mondes mel6s de la Monarchiecatholiqueet autres 'connectedhistories',"Annales HSS 56:1 (2001), 85117. The expression "sharedhistory"was originally used to designate the sharedhistory of different ethnic groups and was then extended to the history of gender,before being used in the discussion of "post-colonialstudies."See Ann LauraStoler and FredericCooper,"BetweenMetropoleand Colony. Rethinkinga ResearchAgenda,"in Tensionsof Empire: Colonial Culturesin a Bourgeois World,ed. Ann LauraStoler and FredericCooper (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), as well as StewartHall, "Whenwas the Post-Colonial?Thinkingat the Limit,"in The Post-Colonial Question: CommonSkies, Divided Horizons, ed. lain Chambersand Lidia Curti(London:Routledge, 1996). For Postkoloniale Perspektivenin the concept of Entangled History, see Jenseits des Eurozentrismus: ed. Sebastian Conrad and Shalini Randeria(Frankfurt: den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Campus Verlag, 2002), as well as Shalini Randeria, "EntangledHistories of Uneven Modernities: Civil Society, Caste Solidarities and Legal Pluralism in Post-Colonial India," in Unraveling Ties: From Social Cohesion to New Practices of Connectedness,ed. Yehuda Elkana et al. (Frankfurt: CampusVerlag,2002), 284-311. 6. See, in particular,Michel Espagne, "Sur les limites du comparatismeen histoire culturelle," Geneses 17 (1994), 112-121; Heinz-GerhardHaupt and JtirgenKocka, Geschichte und Vergleich: Ansditzeund Ergebnisse international vergleichender Geschichtsschreibung(Frankfurt:Campus Verlag, 1996); ChristopheCharle, "L'histoirecompar6edes intellectuels en Europe:Quelques points in Pour une histoirecompardedes intellectuels,ed. Michel de m6thodeet propositionsde recherche," Trebitsch and Marie-Christine Granjon (Paris: Editions Complexe, 1998), 39-59; Johannes Transfer:Zwei Forschungsansitze zur Paulmann, "Internationaler Vergleich und interkultureller Geschichte des 18. bis 20. Jahrhunderts," Historische Zeitschrift 3 (1998), 649-685; europdiischen Hartmut Kaelble, Der historische Vergleich: Eine Einfiihrung zum 19. und 20. Jahrhundert und historischeKomparatistik, (Frankfurt: CampusVerlag, 1999); MatthiasMiddell, "Kulturtransfer et raiThesen zu ihrem Verhiltnis," Comparativ 10 (2000), 7-41; Michael Werner,"Comparaison und Grenzen son," Cahiers d'dtudes germaniques 41 (2001), 9-18; Gabriele Lingelbach, "Ertriige und Vergleich am Beispiel der franz6sischen und amerikanischen zweier Ansditze:Kulturtransfer in Die Nation schreiben: GeschichtswissenGeschichtswissenschaftwiihrenddes 19. Jahrhunderts," schaft im internationalen Vergleich, ed. Christoph Conrad and Sebastian Conrad (Gtittingen: Vandenhoeck& Ruprecht,2002), 333-359.

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researcherand object. It thus provides a toolbox that, over and beyond the historical sciences, can be appliedacross a numberof otherdisciplines thatcombine past and presentperspectives.7
AND THE HISTORICITY OF ITS OBJECTS II. COMPARISON

Those who engage in the comparativemethod and attemptto control the effects thereof--whether they work on past or contemporarymaterials-are aware of a numberof difficultiesthat, while presentin diverse situations,all involve the tension between the method andthe object. To simplify, these difficulties arise from the fact that, on the one hand, comparison is a cognitive operationthat, by its nature,functionsin accordancewith a principleof binaryoppositionbetween differences and similarities and, on the other hand, is applied in the social sciences to empirical subjects that are historically situated and consist of multiple interpenetratingdimensions. The problems of self-monitoring and the continuous readjustmentof the process resulting therefrom are not in themselves insurall of whom deal with this mountable;they are partof the work of comparativists, in their own manner.8 The basic questions neverthelessremain;five of them that underliethe problematicof histoire croiselewill be addressedmore precisely. (1) The first difficulty concernsthe position of the observer. From the standpoint of the basic scheme of the cognitive process, the comparative approach assumes a point of view externalto the objects that are compared.In addition,to limit optical illusions, the vantage point should ideally be situated at equal distance from the objects so as to producea symmetricalview. Finally,logical consistency in the comparisonimplies that the point of observationbe stabilized in space and in time. In the areaof observationof social and culturalfacts, however, such a vantage point, even if it is theoretically imaginable, is impossible to attainin the practiceof research.Scholars are always, in one manneror another,
7. Histoire croisde is partof a long-standingdebate on the relationshipbetween history and social sciences. The debate was initiated at the startof the last centuryin France by Simiandin "M6thode historiqueet science sociale," Revue de synthese historique (1903), 1-22 and 129-157. In Germany, in the latter'swork on economic history,which, while it was led by Simmel and Weber,in particular relying on case studies, reasons on the basis of epistemological considerations.For more recent steps in the debate, see the dossier "Histoireet sciences sociales," Annales ESC 38:6 (1983), and the special edition devoted to the "critical turn" (Annales ESC 44:6 [1989]); Jean-ClaudePasseron, Le du raisonnementnaturel (Paris:Nathan, 1991); raisonnementsociologique: L'espace non-poppdrien and L'historicit, de l'action publique, ed. Pascale Laborierand Danny Trom (Paris,PUF [Collection Curapp],2003). 8. On recent French discussions concerning comparison, see in particularStrategies de la comparaison internationale,ed. Michel Lallementand Jan Spurk(Paris:CNRS-Editions,2003); Marcel Detienne, Comparerl'incomparable (Paris: Seuil, 2000); Qui veut prendre la parole, ed. Marcel Detienne (Le genre humain) (Paris: Seuil, 2003); the dossier in Annales introduced by Lucette Valensi, "L'exercicede la comparaisonau plus proche, a distance: le cas des societes plurielles," of evaluation work on repertoires Annales HSS 57:1 (2002), 27-30; the collective Franco-American coordinatedby Michele Lamontand LaurentTh6venot,RethinkingComparativeCulturalSociology: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States, ed. Michble Lamont and Laurent Thevenot (Cambridge,Eng.: CambridgeUniversity Press, 2000); as well as PatrickHassenteufel, ' "Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle: Remarques propos d'experiences de comparaisons in au concret: Les Dimarches, formes de l'experience et terrains ne'thodes europeennes," Curapp, d'investigation en science politique (Paris,PUF [Collection Curapp],2000), 105-124.

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engaged in the field of observation.They are involved in the object, if only by language,by the categories and concepts used, by historicalexperience or by the preexistingbodies of knowledge relied upon. Their position is thus off center.It is also subject to variationsin time and is never perfectly stabilized. The question of positioningleads to seeking correctiveproceduresthatwould make it possible to account for these dynamics. (2) The second difficulty is related to the first. It concerns the choice of the scale of the comparison.Whether situated-to take but a few examples-at the level of the region, the nation-state,or the civilization, none of these scales is absolutelyunivocal or generalizable.They are all historicallyconstitutedand situated, filled with specific content and thus are difficult to transposeto different frameworks.One need only think, for example, about the problemsraised by the historicalconditions, when concept of civilization, as developed underparticular In practice,it is certainly trying to establish it as a generic basis of comparison.9 into to around this obstacle the possible get by integrating comparativegrid a marto of deviation each case under adapted particular study.But such deviations gin in cases of multimay well underminethe relevance of the results, in particular lateralcomparisonsthatrequiretakinginto accounta largenumberof parameters. (3) In addition,the questionof scale exercises indirectinfluence upon the definition of the object of the comparison. Such definition is never neutral,but is instead always markedin advance by a particularrepresentationbringing into play specific historically-constitutedcategories. Whether dealing with objects that are clear and simple in appearanceand thus endowed with a certain degree of obviousness (such as the unemployed, college students, or kinship ties), or more complex configurations(such as the educationalsystem'0 or the relationships between public and privatespaces), it can easily be shown that the analytical grids diverge not only on the basis of the scale selected but also as a funcof the field areas, and the designations and the research tion of the particularity traditionson which the scholar relies. This can lead to great distortions; for instance, for one and the same object of study, the scale chosen for one of the entities of the comparisonturns out not to be relevant for the other.This raises the problemof the historicaland situatedconstitutionof the objects of the comof the objects, it is necessary parison.To avoid the trapof presumingnaturalness to pay attentionto their historicity,as well as to the traces left by such historiciand their contemporary usages."I ty on their characteristics
9. On comparisonof civilizations, see Kaelble, Der historische Vergleich, 79-92, as well as Jtirgen Osterhammel,Geschichtswissenschaft jenseits des Nationalstaats: Studienzu Beziehungsgeschichte und Zivilisationsvergleich(G6ttingen, Vandenhoeck& Ruprecht, 2001). Analogous observations may of course be made with respect to the nationaland regional levels. in the history of higher education 10. For example, on distortionsabout the notion "Privatdozent" fait homme:le Privatdozent," Actes de systems, see FrankSchultheiss, "Un inconscient universitaire la rechercheen sciences sociales 135 (2000), 58-62. 11. It should be pointed out that Marc Bloch, in his programmatic lecture at the Oslo Congress, the necessity of historicizingthe categoriesof analysis.The differencesarishad alreadyunderscored ing in research on feudalism due to the use of the French term tenancier and the German term Hiriger, in his view, offer the comparativistan enlightening area of study. Marc Bloch, "Pourune histoire comparee des soci6t6s europ6ennes,"Revue de synthese historique 4 (1928), reprintedin Marc Bloch, MWlanges historiques I (Paris: Editions de I'EHESS, 1963), 16-40, especially 38ff.

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(4) This historicizationof the objects and problematicsmay give rise to conflicts between synchronic and diachronic logics. The comparative approach assumes a synchronic cross-section or, at the very least, a pause in the flow of time, even where comparativistsare also dealing with processes of transformation or comparisons over time. Even in these cases, they must fix the object, freeze it in time, and thus in a sense suspendit. If the scholardelves too deeply into the description of a chronological sequence of events leading to specific changes, it will be difficult to justify why, in the comparative grid-whether explicit or implicit-one element of the process is emphasized and anotherneglected. The result is a search for balance that in practiceturnsout to be tenuous and unstable. (5) An additionaldifficulty stems from the interactionamong the objects of the comparison.When societies in contactwith one anotherare studied,it is often but noted that the objects and practicesare not only in a state of interrelationship This is often also modify one anotherreciprocallyas a resultof theirrelationship. the case, for instance, in the human and social sciences where disciplines and schools evolve throughmutualexchanges;in culturalactivities such as literature, music, and the fine arts; and in practicalareas, such as advertising, marketing, organizationalcultures, or even social policies. Comparativestudy of areas of contactthatare transformed requiresscholarsto throughtheirmutualinteractions reorganizetheir conceptualframeworkand rethinktheir analyticaltools.'2 These five difficulties all relate to the problem of articulationbetween an essentially synchronicanalyticallogic and historicallyconstitutedobjects.'3The challenges they raise for the scholar requiregreaterconsiderationof the historical dimension of both the tools and objects of study.Transferstudies, specificalbut they nevertheless ly groundedin historicalprocesses, meet this requirement, additional problems. pose
III. TRANSFERSAND FRAMES OF REFERENCE

While the comparativemethod tends to focus on synchrony,inquiry into transfers is clearly situatedin a diachronicperspective.'4Whatevertemporalscale is
12. In his introductionto Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference (Bergen and Oslo: Universitetsforlaget,1969), 9-38, FredrikBarth had already underscored the necessity of taking into account the interactionat the bordersfrom which spreadthe distinctive traitsof the entities understudy-here "ethnicgroups."But while assigning to them a detereffects of interactionsto the processes of definition minative role, Barth limits the transformational and the characteristicsof the groups, without calling into question the cohesion of the group or the dichotomizingfunction of the borders.Although Barthdefines ethnicity at the borders,he still conceives of it as structured by the principles of sameness and difference. 13. Jean-Claude Passeron has addressed them as difficulties of the "sociological reasoning" caught between the two extremes of experimentationand historicization.See Passeron, Le raisonnementsociologique, esp. 57-88. 14. For a presentationof the transferapproach,see Michel Espagneand Michael Wemer,"Laconstruction d'une r6f6rence culturelle allemande en France, genese et histoire," Annales ESC 42:4 transfers,see (1987), 969-992. For additionalwork contributed throughthe study of Germano-British im 19. Transferzwischen Deutschland und GrofJbritannien AneignungundAbwehr. Interkultureller Jahrhundert,ed. Rudolf Muhs, Johannes Paulmann,and Willibald Steinmetz (Bodenheim: Philo, 1998); for the relationshipsbetween America and Europe, see Transfertsculturels et metissages:

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used, such an inquirypresupposesa process that unfolds over time. In analyzing it reconstituteschains of events. phenomenaof displacementand appropriation, into transfers is not based on an assumptionof static units Consequently,inquiry As in the case of the of analysis, but on the study of processes of transformation. comparativemethod,the contributionsof this researchapproachare obvious and the lines of inquiryopened up have proven fertile, not only at the level of transfers between nationaland regional cultures,but also in specific areas,such as the relationshipsbetween disciplines, artistic practices, the history of writing, and economic history.'5But althoughtransferstudies offer responses to questionsleft unansweredby the comparativeapproach,they also create their own blind spots. Four in particularstand out. For simplicity's sake, we will restrictourselves to transfersbetween nationalunits, in the belief that the blind spots we identify are structural problemsthat affect all areas of researchinto transfers. (1) The first problemconcernsframes of reference.While focusing on transactions between two poles, a transferimplies a fixed frame of referenceincludand arrival.Any descriptionand any analysis of transfers ing points of departure presupposes a beginning and an end through which the process under study becomes intelligible and interpretable.In the case of transnationalexchanges, these points of departureand arrival are generally located within the national societies and culturesthat are in contact.Consequently,the original situationand the situationresultingfrom the transferare apprehended throughstable national or "French" historeferencesthat are presumedknown: for example, "German" of urbanization of Britain or and the Great Russia; patterns riography; particular the like. (2) The fixed natureof the points of departureand arrivalis reflected in the invariabilityof the categories of analysis. The categoriesused to analyze a transfer belong to the differing national perspectives. In other words, not only the object of the transferbut the activities associated with it as well-translation, for example-are apprehendedthroughconcepts elaboratedwithin national traditions. Even when measuring acculturationgaps and/or resistance to acculturation, these phenomenaare evaluatedin terms of static models. The significance of a transferis determinedon the basis of categories whose historicityand lability must be set aside for the purposesof the investigation. difficultiesreveal a reflexivi(3) More generally,both of the above-mentioned to lack of over due a control self-referential loops. Thus, if on ty deficit important the level of relationshipsbetween nationalunits, the initial purposeof a transfer
Amdrique / Europe (XVIe-XXe siecles)/Cultural Transfer America and Europe: 500 Years of ed. LaurierTurgeon, Denys Delage, and R6al Ouellet (Sainte-Foy: Les presses de Interculturation, Laval, 1996). l'universit6 15. For these various examples, see in the order listed Jean-Yves Grenier and BernardLepetit, Annales ESC 44:6 (1989), 1337-1360; "Le "L'expdrience historique:A propos de C.-E. Labrousse," paysage en Franceet en Allemagne autourde 1800,"ed. ElisabethDecultot and ChristianHelmreich, Revue germanique internationale 7 (1997); the special section compiled by Fr6d6ricBarbier,"Le commerce culturelentre les nations,"Revue de synthhse 1:2 (1988), as well as Helga Jeanblanc,Des Allemands dans l'industrie et le commerce du livre a Paris (1811-1870) (Paris: CNRS-Editions), 1994; and Sidney WilfredMintz, Sweetnessand Power: ThePlace of Sugar in ModernHistory (New York:Viking, 1985).

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study was to show that borderswere more permeablein order to underminethe mythof the homogeneityof nationalunits,the resultis thatthe categoriesof analysis reintroduce,througha sort of boomerangeffect, the national referencesthat were to be put in question.The study of exchanges does lead to a richerapproach and helps to historiof the cultureof reception:it underlinesforeign contributions itself of this cultureis cize the concept of nationalculture.But the representation not really called into question.Thus, ratherthansofteningthe nationalgrounding and humanand social-science disciplines, researchinto transof historiographies it. More generally,to the extentthat often leads to strengthening fers paradoxically the referencepoints of the analysisare not questionedas such, transferstudiesrun dimension:they thatoverlooks its self-referential the risk inherentin any approach to undermine. seek that the reinforce they prejudices only While the projectrelating (4) Last is the issue of reciprocityand reversibility. to transfersdid not lay down a rule on this point right from the start,empirical surveys have generallyinvolved simple linear processes, from one cultureor one discipline to another,following a logic of introduction,transmission,and reception. Even in those relatively rarecases of triangular configurations,the object is limited to successive transfers.16 Quite often, however, a situationis more complex than this, bringing into play movements between various points in at least two and sometimes several directions.Such activities may follow each other in a may temporalsequence-in some cases, this is referredto as "re-transfer"17-but also overlapone another,partiallyor wholly. They may also crisscrossand engenAll der a numberof specific dynamicsthroughvariouskinds of interrelationships. of these cases are resistantto any analysis that merely establishes a relationship between a point of departureand a point of arrival.The study of these different configurations requires devising theoretical frameworks and methodological tools thatmake it possible to examine phenomenaof interactioninvolving a variety of directionsand multipleeffects. To our mind, histoire croisee with its crossing figure provides a guide to thinkingabout such configurations.
IV. AN INQUIRYINTO INTERCROSSINGS

In the literal sense, to cross means "to place or fold crosswise one over the other."'8This creates a point of intersection where events may occur that are capable of affecting to various degrees the elements present dependingon their resistance,permeabilityor malleability,and on their environment.The notion of intersectionis basic to the very principle of histoire croisee that we intend to elaboratehere. This centralityof intersectionsimplies four consequencesthat we wish to highlight.
16. See Philologiques IV Transfertsculturels triangulaires France - Allemagne - Russie, ed. KatiaDimitrievaand Michel Espagne (Paris:Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 1996). 17. Cases of this type form partof the original researchagenda on transfers,but they have rarely been followed up by empirical studies. 18. It is only by extension that the termtakes on the meaning"to meet in passing, esp. from opposite directions." Webster'sNinth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield MA: Merriam-Webster, 1983), p. 309.

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First, the notion of intersectionprecludes reasoning in terms of individual entities, consideredexclusively in themselves, with no external reference point. Histoire croisee breaks with a one-dimensionalperspective that simplifies and approachthat acknowledgespluralhomogenizes, in favor of a multidimensional ity and the complex configurationsthat result from it. Accordingly,entities and objects of researchare not merely considered in relation to one anotherbut also throughone another,in terms of relationships,interactions,and circulation.The active and dynamicprincipleof the intersectionis fundamentalin contrastto the static frameworkof a comparativeapproachthat tends to immobilize objects. Second, referringhistoire croisee to relationalconfigurationsand active prinattentionto the consequencesof intercrossciples also requirespaying particular within the crossing process is a basic The view that occurs something ing. assumptionof histoire croisie, which deals with the crossings as well as with their effects and repercussions.The approachdoes not limit itself to an analysis of the point of intersectionor a moment of contact, it takes into account more broadly the processes that may result therefrom,as suggested moreover by the term "history"in the designationhistoire croisde. Third,to cross is also to crisscross, to interweave,that is, to cross over several times at a tempo that may be staggered.This process-orienteddimension is a fundamentalaspect of inquiryinto any intercrossings.It points towardan analysis of resistances,inertias,modifications-in trajectory, form, and content-and new combinations that can both result from and develop themselves in the are moreover not necessarily limited process of crossing. Such transformations to elements in contact: they may also affect their local or remote environment and manifestthemselves at a deferredmoment. This brings us to the fourth point: the entities, persons, practices, or objects that are intertwinedwith, or affected by, the crossing process, do not necessarily remain intact and identicalin form.19 Their transformations are tied to the active as well as the interactivenatureof their coming into contact. Such transformations are usually based on reciprocity(both elements are affected by their coming into contact), but may also derive from asymmetry (the elements are not affected in the same manner).In this respect, intercrossingcan be distinguished from intermixing. The latter emphasizes the specificity of the product of and brings us beyond the originalelements, the hybridization(the interbreeded) identified constitutive entities of the convergence.20 In contrast, hispreviously toire croisle is concernedas much with the novel and originalelements produced by the intercrossingas with the way in which it affects each of the "intercrossed" parties,which are assumedto remainidentifiable,even if in alteredform. This is anotherhallmarkof histoire croise'e. To investigate relational configurationsthat are active and asymmetrical,as well as the labile and evolving natureof things and situations, to scrutinize not only novelty but also change, is one of the aims of histoire croisde.Insteadof an
19. On the philosophicalfoundationsof a discussion on transformations broughtaboutby coming into contact with the Other, see in particularMichael Theunissen, The Other: Studies in the Social Ontologyof Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre,and Buber [1965] (Cambridge,MA: MIT Press, 1984). La pensdemdtisse(Paris:Fayard,1999), especially 33-57. 20. On intermixing,see Serge Gruzinski,

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analyticalmodel-which would result in a static view of things-our aim is on the contraryto articulatevariousdimensions and place them into movement;this requiresa toolbox that, while integratingthe well-tested methodological contributions of the comparativeapproachand transferstudies, makes it possible to apprehendin a more satisfactoryway the complexity of a composite and plural world in motion, and therebythe fundamentalquestion of change. The failureto achieve this is a weak if not blind spot within comparative,and to some extent transfer,approaches.21 The relational,interactive,and process-orienteddimensionsof histoire croiste lead to a multiplicity of possible intercrossings.We shall not seek here to enumerate all of them or to propose a typology. We shall restrictourselves to idenThe intercrosstifying four broad families based on the object and its operator. ing thatwithout doubt most immediatelycomes to mind is that which is intrinsically related to the object of research (1). But intercrossingmay also occur in viewpoints or ways of looking at the object (2). It may likewise be envisaged in terms of the relationshipbetween the observerand the object, thereby implicating issues of reflexivity (3). If we identify these empirical and reflexive dimensions for heuristicpurposes, the various types of intersectionsthat result nevertheless interweave with one another. Intercrossingnever presents itself as an "alreadygiven" that need only be observed and recorded. It requires an active observer to constructit and only in a to-and-fromovement between researcher and object do the empirical and reflexive dimensions of histoire croise'ejointly take shape. Intercrossingthus appears as a structuringcognitive activity that, through various acts of framing, shapes a space of understanding.By such means, a cognitive process articulatingobject, observer,and environmentis carried out. The intercrossingof spatial and temporal scales, which can be both inherentin the object as well as the result of a theoretical and methodological choice, is a particularly revealing example of this interweavingof the empirical and reflexive dimensions (4). (1) Intercrossingsintrinsic to the object. Intercrossingsin this case have an empiricalgroundingand constitutethe object of research.A particular crossing, togetherwith the analysis of its componentelements and the mannerin which it operates,as well as its resultsand consequences,standsin the centerof the study. In practice,it is often extremelydifficultto dissociatethese variousaspects andto isolate them accuratelybecausecrossings and intercrossings can never be reduced to linearschemasor simple causalities.Dependingon the circumstances, one or the otherof these aspectsis placedat the centerof the analysisdependingon the entry point selected in the process.The emphasiscan be placed on the historicaldimension constitutingthe intersectingelements and the history of the intercrossing
21. To the extent thatthey are concernedwith transformations, transferstudiesdo in fact deal with certain aspects of change, but limitationto transfersalone does not make it possible to account for radicalchange where new things, categories, practices,or institutionsarise for the first time. In other of the latteris not generalwords, in many cases transferstake partin the change, but understanding ly exhaustedby the former.The same applies to connected history, which certainly takes into considerationcertainaspects of change, but hardly makes possible analysis of change as such.

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itself.22 The inquirythus focuses on momentsand phenomenaprecedingthe intercrossing as well as on its modalities.But it is also possible to concentrateon what happens afterwards,on the results and processes more or less directly brought about by the intercrossing.23 chosen, interRegardlessof the point of departure crossing functionsas the basic matrixfor constructionof the object that, dependwill be more or less closely connectedto analysesof the ing on the circumstances, momentsprecedingor subsequentto the points of intersectionproperlyspeaking. In this respect,we are dealing with novel objects of researchthat the methodoloand transferstudiesgenerallyhave difficultygrasping. gies of comparative (2) The intercrossingofpoints of view. Here we are dealing in the areaof intersecting fields, objects, and scales, that is, the area of things that the researcher crosses, whereas the previous intersectionsoccur without his or her direct intervention (even if the mere fact of identifyingan object as coming within the scope of histoire croisee is itself a significant act of interventionon the part of the researcher).In contrastto the precedingtype of intersectionthat the scholarmay while not necessarily being familiar with all of try to describe or to understand, the details, some of which will always remainbeyond his or her control, this second type of intercrossing implies a structuring,voluntary intellectual action, throughwhich are defined the contoursnot only of the object of study but of the line of inquiryas well. This raises the question of the constructionof the object both from an empiricalas well as from an epistemological standpoint.Thus, for example, a study of the reception of Tacitus's Germaniain Europebetween the fifteenth and the twentiethcenturies can reveal instances of historical intersections-the circulationof argumentsand theirreinterpretation accordingto national contexts-but it may also place emphasison the necessity of crossing different nationalreceptionsto create a researchtopic of a Europe-widedimension. Basically, the construction of the object, which may be envisaged in a Weberianperspectiveas the adoptionof one or more particular points of view on is alreadythe result of various acts of crossing. To the extent that it the object,24 may evolve in the course of the inquiry,the chosen vantage point implies new intersections.Scholars are in fact led to account for the way in which their own choices do or do not integrate other perspectives, to cross different potential points of view, and if necessary to engage in a process of translationor balanc22. See, for instance,the researchby SebastianConradon the makingof Japanesehistorythrough the confluence between local tradition and importation of European national historiography. SebastianConrad,"Laconstitutionde l'histoirejaponaise:Histoire comparee,transferts,interactions in Wernerand Zimmermann,ed., De la comparaison a l'histoire crois6e, 53-72. transnationales," "National"historiographies generatedduringthe period of colonialism may likewise be analyzed in terms of intercrossing.See, for example, Romila Thapar,"La quete d'une traditionhistorique:l'Inde ancienne,"Annales HSS 53:2 (1998), 347-359. 23. This is true of the study carriedout by Kapil Raj on the effects of the intercrossingbetween at the beginningof the nineteenthcenIndianand English methodsin the birthof Britishcartography tury,which thus no longer appearsas an authentically"English"creation,but as the result of an interaction between two distinct traditionsthat mutuallynourishedone another.Kapil Raj, "Connexions, croisements, circulations:Le detour de la cartographiebritanniquepar l'Inde, xvIIIe-xlxe siecles," in Wernerand Zimmermann, ed., De la comparaisona l'histoire croisde, 73-98. 24. The expression "pointof view" is used here not in a subjective sense, but in the literal meaning of point of observationthat determinesan angle of view. Max Weber,On the Methodologyof the Social Sciences, (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1949), 81ff.

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ing of the approachesresulting from the specific vantage points. These various positions in comreflectingparticular points of view are also socially structured, them also means, variation or among Consequently, petition power struggles.25 in empiricalterms, the scholar's taking into accountdiffering social viewpoints: of the governorsand the governed,workersand employers,and so on. Whatmatters here is less the reflexive element inherentin any work involving intellectual positioningthanthe technical processes of intercrossingas a whole thatinform it. By this is meant,for example, the ways of managingthe articulationbetween several possible vantage points as well as the numerous links between these viewpoints to the extent that they are acknowledgedto be historically constituted. In this respect,the framingof the object and the positioning of the researcher in which objects and points of view are creatinvolve a "doublehermeneutic,"26 ed throughintercrossinginteractions. (3) The relations between observer and object. Once one begins to reason in terms of a cognitive approach, the question of the relationship between the researcherand the object necessarily arises and in a sense becomes inherentto the two precedingtypes of intercrossing.The question concerns, first and foremost, the way in which the preliminarystages of the inquiryshape the object and of the object influence the paramconversely the way in which the characteristics eters of the inquiry. The question of the intercrossing relations between the observerand the object is especially pertinentwhere the researcheris requiredto work with a language, concepts, and categories that are not part of his or her sphere of socialization.27In the case of comparisons and transferstudies, this gives rise to an asymmetryin the relationshipsbetween researchersand theirvarious field areas or sources. It would seem evident that a researchertrained in France28 involved in a Franco-Germanicresearch project could not deal with both sides in a symmetricalmanner,if only by reason of the impact of the mastery of the subtleties of language and of categories entailed, and more broadly because of his or her own placement within French society. It would be both futile and naive to try to free oneself once and for all from this problemarising One may nevertheless attemptto limit its effects by in any scientific inquiry.29
25. PierreBourdieuplaced great emphasis on this point in his work as a whole. See in particular Choses dites (Paris:Editions de Minuit, 1987), 155ff. 26. In the sense used by Anthony Giddens, in New Rules of Sociological Method (London: Hutchinson, 1974). 27. This question has been treatedin particularby Jocelyne Dakhlia, "'La culture n6buleuse'ou Annales HSS 56 :6 (2001), 1177-1199, here 1186ff. l'Islam 'al'6preuve de la comparaison," 28. We know well the complexity of this type of designation,especially to the extent that courses of studyare increasinglyinterconnectedandprovide forms of integrationthatblurthe variousassignments to categories of membership. acute in the social sciences whereinquiriesare subjectto an ongo29. This problemis particularly ing tension between proceduresdesigned to be objective and descriptive,on the one hand,and a normative and prescriptivedimension, on the other,resulting from the fact that the researcheris also a social being. However, many studies have shown that this problemalso exists in the hard sciences. See, in particular,Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, LaboratoryLife: The Social Constructionof Scientific Facts (London: Sage, 1979); Barry Barnes, David Bloor, and John Henry, Scientific Knowledge: A Sociological Analysis (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996); Dominique Pestre, "Pourune histoire sociale et culturelledes sciences: Nouvelles d6finitions, nouveaux objets, Annales HSS 3 (1995), 487-522, with a descriptionof the state of researchand nouvelles pratiques," numerousbibliographicalreferences.

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trying to objectify the multivariousrelationshipsto the object-keeping in mind that such objectificationwill always remain incomplete-in orderbetterto control the biases that might be introducedinto the results of the inquiry.The way the researchertakes hold of the object, the object's resistance, the presuppositions implied by the researcher'schoices, or even the way in which the relationship between researcherand object may change in the course of the inquiry-for of its methodolexample, througha redefinitionof the inquiry or a readjustment of a and are all reflexive analytical categories-these aspects ogy process in which the position of the researcherand the definition of the object are susceptible to evolving in which the respective shifts in each are a productof specific interactions.The space of understanding opened up by the inquirydoes not exist a priori,but is createdin the dynamic intercrossingrelationshipsbetween both. Thus, the empiricaland reflexive dimensions are simultaneouslyconfigured. (4) The crossing of scales. The questionof scale offers an opportunityto illustrate the way in which the empirical and reflexivity can be articulatedwithin a perspective of histoire croisde. Such an approachraises the problem of spatial and temporalunits of analysis, and of choosing themdependingon the object and the adoptedpoint of view. To approachthe question of scale both as a dimension intrinsicto the object and as a cognitive and methodologicaloption chosen by the researcherimplies a break with a logic of pre-existingscales to be used "off the shelf," as is often the case for national studies or for the major dates in the chronology of politics that are relied on as naturalframeworks of analysis, defined independentlyof the object. The problemof scale has alreadybeen the subject of much discussion. It has been raised in particularin terms of the relationship between the micro and macro levels and explored for instance in Italianmicrostoria,the Frenchmultiscopique approach,as well as the GermanAlltagsgeschichte. Despite their parall threeapproacheshave in common the idea that the level of scale ticularities,30 is primarilya matterof the researcher'schoice of level of analysis. Thus, microstoria adopts the micro level to show how it can enrich and advance the categories traditionallyused in macro analysis.31 Its most radical followers go so far as to bring all phenomena down to a micro scale by means of an underlying The proassumptionaccordingto which the micro level engendersthe macro.32 posal for multiscopiqueapproachesdeveloped in Francefor its partaims to avoid such a dichotomous perspective, by conceiving of the variation of scales (jeu d'dchelles) as a change of focus to vary points of view on the past. By means of this principle,the local comes to be a "particular modulation"of the global and, at the same time, a "different"version of macro-social realities.33Finally,
30. For the positioningof the multiscopiqueapproachin relationto microstoria, see, in particular, Paul-Andr6Rosental, "Construirele macro par le micro: FredrikBarth et la microstoria,"in Jeux d'echelles: La micro-analyse a l'experience, dir. Jacques Revel (Paris, Editions de I'EHESS/ Gallimard/Seuil,1996), 141-159. 31. See, in particular,Carlo Ginzburg and Carlo Poni, "La micro-histoire,"Le debat, no. 17 (1989), 133-136; Giovanni Levi, Le pouvoir au village: La carrikred'un exorciste dans le Piemont du XVIIesiecle [1985] (Paris:Gallimard, 1989). 32. MaurizioGribaudi,"Echelle, pertinence,configuration,"in Jeux d'echelles, 113-139. 33. Jacques Revel, "Micro-analyseet constructiondu social," in Jeux d'echelles, 15-36, here 26.

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Alltagsgeschichtebases its choice of the micro and criticism of the macro on an However,by treatingthe question of scale anthropologyof social relationships.34 as exclusively a matterof theoreticaland methodologicalchoice, microstoria,the multiscopiqueapproach,and Alltagsgeschichtedo not really deal with the problem of the empirical articulationand matchingof different scales to the level of the object itself. Scale, however, is as much a matter of the concrete situations to the objects studied as it is of intellectualchoice. particular As a general rule, empirical objects relate to several scales at the same time and are not amenableto a single focal length. This is the case, for example, of the make-up of the category of the unemployed in Germanybetween 1890 and of this category act, simultaneouslyor successively, on dif1927.35Constructors in such a mannerthat these ferent levels: municipal,national,even international, varying scales are in partconstitutedthroughone another.These scales could not be reducedto an externalexplicatory factor but ratherare an integralpart of the analysis. Thus, from a spatialpoint of view, the scales referback to the multiple Froma settings, logics, and interactionsto which the objects of analysis relate.36 temporalperspective,they raise the question of the time frames of both observer and object and of their interferencesat the confluence between the empirical and methodology.The focus broughtto bear on their couplings and articulations makes it possible to account for interactionsthat are part of complex phenomena that cannot be reducedto linear models. The transnationalscale provides a good illustration of this double aspect. Within a histoire croisee perspective, the transnational cannot simply be considlevel of analysis to be added to the local, regional, and ered as a supplementary national levels according to a logic of a change in focus. On the contrary,it is apprehendedas a level that exists in interactionwith the others, producing its own logics with feedback effects upon other space-structuring logics. Far from a limited to the of the transnational level macroscopic reduction, being study reveals a network of dynamic interrelations whose components are in part defined throughthe links they maintainamong themselves and the articulations Viewed from this perspective, histoire croisee can structuringtheir positions.37 lines of open up promising inquiry for the writing of a history of Europe that is not reduced to the sum of the histories of member states or their political relations, but takes into accountthe diversity of transactions,negotiations,and reinterpretations played out in differentsettingsarounda greatvarietyof objects that, contribute to shaping a Europeanhistory "aigeomitrie variable." combined,
34. Histoire du quotidien, ed. Alf Ltitdke [1989] (Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 1994); Sozialgeschichte, Alltagsgeschichte, Mikro-Historie, ed. Winfried Schulze (G6ttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994); MikrogeschichteMakrogeschichte: komplementdir oder inkommensurabel?, ed. JtirgenSchlumbohm(Gdttingen:Wallstein, 1999). 35. B6n6dicteZimmermann, La constitutiondu chomage en Allemagne: Entreprofessions et territoires (Paris:Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 2001). 36. MartinaL6w underlines in her sociology of space this relational and labile dimension of spaces composed of objects and individuals that move beyond the systems of geographical,institutional, political, economic and social coordinatesthat aim to stabilize spaces by establishingboundam Main, SuhrkampVerlag,2001). aries. MartinaLbw, Raumsoziologie(Frankfurt 37. For additionaldevelopments on the relationshipsbetween histoire croisee and the transnational dimension, see Wernerand Zimmermann,"Vergleich,Transfer, Verflechtung,"628ff.

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An approachbased on intercrossingsargues in favor of going beyond reasoning in termsof micro versus macro,emphasizinginstead their inextricableinterconnections. The notion of scale does not refer to the micro or the macro level, but ratherto the various spaces within which are rooted the interactionsmaking up the process analyzed. In other words, the relevant scales are those that are constructedor broughtinto play in the very situationsunder study.They are spatial as well as temporal, and their variations are not solely dependent on the researcher,but also result from the protagonistsin the situations under study. Intercrossingis thus obviously an aspect of both the realm of the object of study and the realm of the proceduresof researchrelatedto the researcher'schoices. In its most demanding version, histoire croisle aims to establish connections between both of these realms.
CATEGORIES V. HISTORICIZING

Connectingthe empiricalobject to the researchprocedureopens the centralquestion of categories and categorization.Given the pitfalls of asymmetriccomparisons-postulating a similarity between categories on the basis of a simple semantic equivalent, without questioning the often divergent practices encompassed by them--or negative comparisons-evaluating a society based on the absence of a category chosen because of its relevance to the initial environment of the researcher-great care is called for in assessing the analytical impact of the categories used. Such care can be exercised throughsystematic attentionto the categories in use, in the dual sense of categoriesof action and of analysis.38 While any form of reasoningproceeds by categorization,such categorization often remains implicit, even if any comparativeresearch should theoretically explicate the categories referredto. To know whereof and whence one is speaking: this twofold issue is centralto histoire croise'e.Since categories are both the productof an intellectualconstructionand the basis for action, they unavoidably pose the question of the relationshipbetween knowledge and action, both in the situationsstudied and in terms of the protocols of inquiry.The focus upon them clears a potentialpath to bring togetherthe empiricaland reflexivity. This focus on categories is not so much aimed at categories in themselves as at their various constitutive elements and how they fit together.These elements are subjectto variationsand fluctuationsover time and space. To get beyond the essentialismof categoriesimplies reasoningin termsof situatedprocesses of categorization-with the process referringback to the temporaland spatialinteracfor exampletions that make up the category.Categories such as "landscape," "old the same could be shown for "unemployment," "culture," age," "sickness," "workers,""white collar managers,"and so on-are historically dated and partially structuredby the hypotheses that helped to form them. With respect to "landscape"and its equivalents-always rough approximationsin other languages and cultures-such formationhas been progressive and has broughtinto
38. For an example of such work on categories, see, in particular, L'enquete sur les categories: De Durkheima' Sacks, ed. BernardFradin,Louis Qu6r6, and Jean Widmer (Raisons pratiques,5) (Paris: Editions de I'EHESS, 1994); see also the special section "Hommage a Bernard Lepetit: L'usage des cat6gories,"Annales 52:5 (1997), 963-1038.

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play, within each national entity, a multiplicity of categorial schemes particular to the various groups, places, and individuals involved in the process: artists, botanical associations, local beautificationleagues and societies, neighborhood associations, and so on. Only a situatedapproachenables elucidationof the specific issues of categorization,which, while no longer perceptible,still contribute to shaping culturalheritage practices that are currentlyprevalentin France and A process-orientedapproachthus makes it possible to Germany,for instance.39 more the implicationsof categorialdelineations,in particular through grasp fully examination of their various more or less stabilized components. Reference to categorizationthereforeinvolves reasoning not in an abstractand general fashion, but in association with the study of the interpretiveschemes andgeneralizaSuch a catetion proceduresthat lead to the institutionof a generic category.40 gorial approach makes it possible, thanks to the introductionof a diachronic dimension, to avoid the influence of implicit and reductiveculturalmodels. It raisesthe issue of historicization andthe way in which histoirecroisee relates to the field of history.Initiatedat the beginning of the nineteenthcentury,reinforced by the successive crises of differentcurrentsof positivism, and accelerathistoricizationtoday is ed by the calling into question of scientific objectivism,41 an inescapabledimensionof the productionof knowledge abouthumansocieties. It concernsall of the social sciences, even those, like economics, thattendto view themselves above all as sciences of the present.Consideredfrom the perspective taken here, historicizationmeans articulatingthe essential aspect of reflexivity and the multiple time frames that enter into the constructionof an object to the extent that it is envisaged as a productionsituated in time and space. Histoire by opening up lines of inquirythatencourcroisdeplays a role in this undertaking age a rethinking,in historical time, of the relationshipsamong observation,the used. Further, the referenceto hisobject of study,and the analyticalinstruments the is the attention of to process constituting both the tory justified by given objects and the categories of analysis. Here too, it is not so much the temporal dimension in itself as the incidence of a pluralityof temporalitiesinvolved in the identificationand constructionof the objects that is in question. This reliance on common to those disciplines that, in one history thus encompasses a substratum respector another,are confrontedwith the historicityof their materialsand tools. also refersto the narrative componentof any empirical Finally,the term"history"
des 39. See Danny Trom, "La productionpolitique du paysage:Eliments pour une interpretation de la natureen Allemagne et en France"(Doctoralthesis, pratiquesordinairesde patrimonialisation Institutd'dtudespolitiques, Paris, 1996). 40. Alain Desrosibresaccounts for these generalizationproceduresin the case of statisticcategorization.Alain Desrosieres,La politique des grands nombres:Histoire de la raison statistique(Paris: "Cadres La Ddcouverte, 1993). For a case study, see also Danny Trom and BdnddicteZimmermann, et institutiondes problkmespublics: les cas du chomage et du paysage," in Lesformes de l'action collective: Mobilisationdans des arknespubliques, ed. Daniel Cefai and Danny Trom(Raisons pratiques, 12) (Paris:Editions de I'EHESS, 2001), 281-315. 41. See Ian Hacking, Representingand Intervening: IntroductoryTopics in the Philosophy of Natural Sciences (Cambridge,MA: HarvardUniversity Press, 1983); Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, "The Image of Objectivity,"Representations40 (1992), 81-128; for the culturalsciences, Area see Michael Lacknerand Michael Werner,Der Cultural Turn in den Humanwissenschaften: Studies im Auf- oderAbwind des Kulturalismus? (Bad Homburg,WernerReimers Stiftung, 1999).

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social science. Such narration can be carriedout in the present,to describe a situation, or be appliedto the past, to make intelligiblecertainessential aspects of the object of study.42 Being process-oriented,histoire croisee is an open approachthat takes into account,from an internalpoint of view, variationsin its componentsand, froman externalpoint of view, its specificity with respect to other possible forms of history. It can be likened to a history of problems and queries (histoireprobleme) that attemptsto avoid the dual essentialism of an objectivationthrough factsregardedas directly accessible to the observer-and a reificationof structuresthe results of the inquiry.In opposithatby tautologicalreasoningpredetermines tion to an essentialistperspective,the idea of intercrossingidentifiesfirst an interaction that-and this is one of its decisive characteristics-modifies the elements that are interacting.In this sense, it points towardsa "second-degree" history.
VI. PRAGMATICINDUCTION

But how does one study or objectify various forms of intercrossing,situated in time and space? The example of scales has providedan opportunityto formulate a few suggestions, which should now be developed in further detail. Emphasizingthe need to startwith the object of researchand its concrete situation leads to an inductive and pragmatic approach. From an epistemological standpoint,any productionof sociohistorical knowledge does indeed combine In the case of inductive and deductive procedures,but in varying proportions.43 is often the comparativemethod, where the deductive aspect significant, national issues, pre-existingand crystallizedin a language and in specific categories of analysis, pose a risk of partly prefiguring the results. Histoire croisde cannot escape the weight of such pre-establishednational formatting,but its inductive orientationaims to limit these effects through an investigative mechanism in which the objects, categories, and analytical schemes are adjustedin the course of research.This is illustratedby a study carriedout by Nicolas Mariot and Jay Rowell on visits of sovereigns in France and Germany on the eve of the First WorldWar,a study that aims to test the transpositionof a researchtheme andan By illustratingan asymmetryin inquiryprotocol from one countryto another.44 the situations, pointing out significant differences in the various ways of conceiving and categorizing public action or the relations between center and periphery,the test led them to revise the initial hypothesis and to reformulatethe it. The principleof inductioninvoked here thus refers to a categories structuring of process productionof knowledge in which the various elements are defined
42. See Alban Bensa, "De la micro-histoirevers une anthropologiecritique,"in Revel, ed., Jeux d'&chelles, 37-70; Kultur,soziale Praxis, Text:Die Krise der ethnographischenRepriisentation,ed. Eberhard Suhrkamp Verlag, 1993); Danny Trom,"Situationnisme Berg and MartinFuchs (Frankfurt: une induction et histoire: triangulaire,"in Laborierand Trom, ed., approche par m6thodologique L'historicitede 1'actionpublique. 43. For a recentdiscussion of the question, see HilaryPutnam,RenewingPhilosophy(Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity Press, 1992), passim. 44. Nicolas Mariot and Jay Rowell, "Une comparaisonasym6trique:Visites de souverainet6et constructionnationale en France et en Allemagne B la veille de la PremibreGuerremondiale,"in Wernerand Zimmermann, ed., De la comparaisona l'histoire croisle, 181-211.

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and, if necessary, repositioned in relation to one another.Its pragmaticnature make it possible to restrictthe temptationof a priori conshould furthermore structionsand get aroundthe trapof essentialism and its overly static categories. Pragmaticinductionthus implies startingfrom the object of study and the situations in which it is embedded,accordingto one or more points of view-prein the course of viously defined, it is true, but subjectto continualreadjustments on Reliance situations makes it possible to empirical investigation. specific "convenient and of context"45 the its lazy usage escape by rejecting generic and pre-establishednatureand integratinga reflectionon the principlesgoverning its definition. Such a lazy usage is replaced by an analysis of the mannerin which individualsactuallyconnect themselves to the world, the specific constructionof the world and the elements of context producedby this activity in each particular case, and finally the uses arisingfrom such construction.By focusing on specific situations,it is thus possible to get away from the external,often artificial, natureof the context in orderto make it an integralpart of the analysis. Just as in the case of scales, the definition of the context is not the prerogativeof the researcher.It also involves reference points that are specific to the objects and activities understudy.Thus, histoire croisee integratesinto the operationof contextualization carried out by the researcher the referential dimension of the objects and practicesanalyzed,taking into account both the variety of situations in which the relationshipsto the context are structuredand the effect that the study of such situationsexerts on the analyticalprocedures.46 Pragmaticinduction does not therebyimply confining the analysis to a micro level or limiting it to a juxtapositionof situations,to the detrimentof any form of generalization. But generalizationin such cases is carried out through a combinationof these The emergence, for example, of common forms of concert various situations.47 in organization nineteenth-century Europe can thus be studied from highly varied local constellationsand throughthe concretepracticesof the relevantactors. Institutions,such as concert societies, or generic figures, such as the impresario or the concert agent, arise in a multiplicity of configurationsaccordingto logics that cannot be reduced to a process of linear evolution, which some would like to subsumeinto a progressivecommercializationor a generalizeddifferentiation of functionsrelatedto the organizationof concerts.Their main featuresare much more defined through the interactionof the expectations and strategies, some-

45. Respondingto criticismmade by Jacques Revel, "Micro-analyseet constructiondu social," in Revel, ed., Jeux d'echelles, 15-36, here 25. 46. Passeron (Le raisonnementsociologique, esp. 85-88 and 368-370) has gone furthestin the analysis of the challenge posed by the constructionof the context, in particularwith respect to the comparative method, without, however, advancing concrete methodological proposals. Histoire croisee, for its part,proposes to link two levels of constructionof context, thatof the analyticaloperations carriedout by the researcherand that of the situationsof action analyzed. 47. Undera procedureclosed to the combinativeethnography founded by Isabelle Baszangerand Nicolas Dodier on the establishmentof an "ethnographic jurisprudence."Isabelle Baszanger and Nicolas Dodier, "Totalisation et alterit6dans l'enquite ethnographique," Revuefrangaise de socioloLa constitution gie 38 (1997), 37-66. For an attemptat a transpositioninto history,see Zimmermann, du chomage. On the relation between case study and generalization,see Penser par cas, ed. JeanClaude Passeronand JacquesRevel (Paris:EHESS, 2005)

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of actorsto which they respondwhile at the same time structimes contradictory, turingthem.48 Similarly, pragmatic induction does not imply restricting oneself to shortaction time-frames without regardfor the long term. On the contrary,the long is combined with the shortjuncturesof action, in an analyterm of the structures sis of social activity based on the study of the dynamic relationshipsbetween From this perspective,the activity of individualsappearsas action and structure. and structuring,49 in a relationshipof reciprocalrelationsbetween both structured structuresand action. However, such structuringis not so much determinedby the necessity of an irreversibleprocess as by the intercrossingin the course of action of constraintsand resourcesthat are in part structurally given and in part for of our institied to the contingency of the situations.50 most Thus, example, tutions stem from a dual grounding,both within a structurallylong history that affects their logic and functioning, and in singularcontexts of action that played them.51 The perspective a decisive role in bringingthem aboutand transforming of a social pragmaticsmakes it possible to think in termsof the interdependence of these two dimensions throughthe identificationof the slides and lags occurring in the course of the action that enable moments of institutionalinnovation. Mindful of both short-termcontexts of action and the long-term structural conditions that make it possible, such an approachopens up new perspectives for analyzingchange and stability at the same time.
VII. REFLEXIVITY

As illustratedby the example of scales, such pragmaticinduction is also reflexive. This is one of the points that distinguishes histoire croisde from both comparativism-which, ideally, postulatesthe existence of an externalpoint of view making it possible both to constructcomparableobjects and to apply to them common analyticalquestionnaires-and transferstudies-which, in most cases, do not questiontheirimplicit framesof reference.Nevertheless we will not delve into the reflexivity issue debated for more than a centurynow in the social sciences.52By way of example, we shall limit ourselves to pointing out a few can contributeto meeting the challenge posed instancesin which histoire croisede and the proceduresfor historicization Both induction by reflexivity. pragmatic
48. See Concerts et publics: Mutations de la vie musicale 1789-1914: France, Allemagne, ed. Hans-ErichBideker, PatriceVeit, and Michael Werner(Paris:Editions de la Grande-Bretagne, Maison des sciences de l'homme, 2002). on this point, AnthonyGiddens, The Constitutionof Society: Outlineof the 49. See, in particular, Theoryof Structuration(Cambridge,Eng: Polity Press, 1984). 50. For a reinterpretation of the notion of structurein terms of schemas and resources, and thoughtson its integrationinto a theoryof actionand a problematicof change, see WilliamH. Sewell, "A Theory of Structure: AmericanJournal of Sociology 98:1 Duality,Agency and Transformation," (1992), 1-29. 51. For an illustration of this dual grounding, see Paul-Andre Rosental, L'intelligence dimographique:Sciences et politiques des populationsen France (1930-1960) (Paris,Odile Jacob,2003). 52. For the nineteenthcentury,the main referenceremainsDroysen's Historik,as well as Dilthey's projectfor a critiqueof historicalreason. For morerecentdebates on reflexivity in the social sciences and its relationshipto theories of modernity,see, in particular, Anthony Giddens, Consequencesof Modernity(Oxford: Polity Press, 1990); Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens, and Scott Lash, Reflexive Modernization(Oxford, Polity Press, 1994).

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inherent within histoire croisee generate forms of reflexivity. Tied to logics of of the principlesand the logic action, pragmaticinductionleads to a readjustment of the inquirywhile it is being conducted.As for historicization,it elucidatesthe scales and differentregimes of hisrelationshipbetween various spatio-temporal of toricity and positions observationthat are themselves historically situated. A histoire croisee of disciplines helps to illustratecertainaspects of the reflexivity issue. Depending on whether one treats the interpenetrationsbetween German and American historiographiesafter 1945 from a "German,""American," or "French"point of view, one obtains perspectives, and thus interpretations, that are quite different.The emigrationand exile of Germanhistoriansto the United States, the re-importationinto Germany after 1950 of originally theorieshaving been in the meantimeacclimatedand "Americanized" "German" (this was the case with broadaspectsof Weberiansociology), coupled with reception theories such as at the Chicago School, caused considerable interweaving that requiresre-evaluationof the viewpoints from which the various interpretations have been developed. Commonlyused terms, such as "Germansociology," became fluid, difficult to use without caution, not to mention complex notions such as Historismus and its translationsas historicism, historicisme, istorismo, and so on, each of which relates to differentperceptions,traditions,and methodologies.53Consequently,the scholar today is likely to look upon his or her own concepts and analyticalinstrumentsas the result of a complex process of interin crossing in which nationaland disciplinarytraditionshave been amalgamated and to reintroduce the into the varying configurations, correspondingviewpoints inquiry.The aim of histoire croisee is to shed light on this thick fabric of interweavings. In so doing, it does not withdrawinto a space of relativistindecisiveit aims to utilize the ness or infinite speculative relationships.54 On the contrary, of in of in and shifts view order to study specifintercrossing perspectives points ic knowledge effects. Starting from the divergences among various possible viewpoints, by bringingout their differences and the way in which, historically, manner,histoire croisle makes it possithey emerge, often in an interdependent ble to recompose these elements.55 The reflexivity to which it leads is not empty formalism,but is rathera relationalfield that generatesmeaning.
53. On the epistemologicalimplicationsof this question, see AlexandreEscudier,"Episthmologies croishes? L'impossible lecture des thhoriciensallemandsde l'histoire en France autourde 1900," in De la comparaisona l'histoire croisde, ed.,139-177. For a presentation of Wernerand Zimmermann, the problemin the context of a Germandiscussion, see Otto Gerhard Oexle, Geschichtswissenschaft im Zeichen des Historismus(G6ttingen:Vandenhoeck& Ruprecht,1996). 54. On the problem of historical relativism, see Hilary Putnam, Reason, Truth,and History (Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity Press, 1982); Alasdair MacIntyre, Whose Justice? Which Rationality?(Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press,1988), 349ff. Finally, on the history of the idea of historical relativity, see Reinhart Koselleck, "Geschichte," in Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe,ed. Otto Brunner,Werner Conze, and Reinhart Koselleck (Stuttgart:Klett-Cotta, 1972-1997), vol. 2 (1979), 647-717, here 695-701 and Koselleck, L'experiencede l'histoire (Paris: Gallimard/Seuil,1997), 75-81. 55. The groundingin the dynamic of social activities makes it possible to place histoire croisde within the debateover constructionism.On the one hand,all of the objects of histoire croisee, as well as the categories capable of describing them and the problematicsto which they relate, are assumed to be socially constructed.But, on the otherhand, this does not mean that they are all placed on the same level and that their respective positions are irrelevant.Quite to the contrary,we advance the

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Neither does histoire croisde result in a logic of infinite historicalregression. Historicization shouldnot be confusedwith a contextualization thatrequiresdelvand further into further historical so as to arrive at a moredetailed ing investigation, of the and its to the it is On past representation relationship present. the contrary, in an constructedand circumscribed relationto object and a problematic,making possible the identificationof the relevanttemporalitiesand thus a delimitationof the process of historicization. Once this has been made clear, it becomes possible to examine anew the relationshipsbetween diachrony and synchrony, which remaindifficult to coordinate,with respect both to comparisonand transferstudof histoirecroisdeis thatit makes possible the articuies. One of the contributions lationof both of these dimensions,whereascomparisonfavors the implementation of a synchronicreasoning,andtransfer studiestendtowardan analysisof diachronic processes. Crossed history,in contrast,enables the synchronicand diachronic in relationto each other. registersto be constantlyrearranged as has been affects both the researchobject and research shown, Intercrossing, functions It as an active procedures. principle in which the dynamics of the inquiry unfold in accordancewith a logic of interactionswhere the various elements are constitutedin relationto or throughone another.Considerationof this effects is aspect of active inclusion and both its constitutiveand transformational at the heartof histoire croisde. It involves mobile groundingprocesses that link not only the observerto the object but also objects among themselves. The elements of the space of understanding thus configured-in which the observer is not but are instead defined on the basis of their fixed, personally engaged-are The result is a process of permanentadjustmentthat dynamic interrelationships. simultaneously concerns the respective positions of the elements and the processes of their coming into being. Over and beyond these distinctive traits that stem from the concept of intertension crossing, histoire croisefealso resultsin the rethinkingof the fundamental between the logical operations involved in producing knowledge and the historicity of both the object and the approachproduced by such knowledge. As noted earlier,with respect to questions such as the choice of scales, construction of context, and processes of categorization,histoire croisle engages in a to-andfro movementbetween the two poles of the inquiryand the object. By systematically questioningthe relationshipsbetween these two poles, it seeks-in choosing its fields-to respond to the question of the historical groundingof knowledge producedby the social sciences. The epistemological challenge of course remains, and shall continue to remain. But the implementationof the research agenda of histoire croiseleas outlined in this article leads to the opening of new lines of inquiry capable of changing the conditions under which intellectual experience is carriedout. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
hypothesis that the configuration of the intercrossingand the intellectual operationcorresponding theretolead to a logic that produces meaningon the basis of semantic interactionsbetween situated positions. Viewed from this perspective,intercrossingappearsas a social constructionthat produces specific forms of knowledge. See Ian Hacking, The Social Constructionof What?(Cambridge,MA: HarvardUniversity Press, 1999), especially 36-59.

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