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Max Stille

In a recent introduction to an ambitious series on conceptual histories in Europe, Willibald Steinmetz and Michael Freeden reflected on the state of the art of conceptual history in a post-Koselleckian era. The volume and its reflections in many

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Kari Palonen

The author argues that conceptual history is becoming increasingly indispensable due to the historical trend in political practices to move from a politics of answers to given questions to a politics of thematizing the questions themselves, that is, of agenda-setting. The very understanding of a certain question as contingent and controversial marks a politicizing change in the agenda. From the perspective of the history of concepts, the formulation of questions themselves become politically key issues, given that rhetorical problems of the renaming and reinterpretation of the meaning, significance and normative color of concepts play a key role in the decisions regarding inclusion and exclusion. Assuming that concepts function as “pivots” in the contemporary controversy, there is at least some possibility for change in terms of rendering the controversy intelligible by means of the instruments of conceptual history. If conceptual history were ever to play a direct political role, it might concern teaching politicians the styles of both a conceptual reading of politics and a political reading of the uses of concepts.

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Conceptual History in Korea

Its Development and Prospects

Myoung-Kyu Park

This article explores the development of Korea's conceptual history from the perspective of sociology of knowledge by focusing on the intellectual environment since the early 1990s, pioneers and areas of conceptual research, the kinds of expectations that Korean scholars have of conceptual research, data archiving and methodology, works and tasks of conceptual history in Korea. The article finds that the conceptual research on Korea's modernization is a good approach to construct a reflexive history beyond the false dichotomy of Western influence and nationalistic response.

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Kyösti Pekonen

The article examines, through the use of conceptual history, the semantics of ruling and government in Europe. The author identifies the discourses that have been constructed in order to answer the question of what can be ruled and governed in European cultures and shows how their prominence and timing have varied in different political cultures.

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Conceptual History and Politics

Is the Concept of Democracy Essentially Contested?

Oliver Hidalgo

This article surveys the history of the concept of democracy from Ancient times to the present. According to the author, the conceptual history of democracy shows that the overwhelming success of the concept is most of all due to its ability to subsume very different historical ideas and realities under its semantic field. Moreover, the historical evolution of the concept reveals that no unequivocal definition is possible because of the significant paradoxes, aporias, and contradictions it contains. These are popular sovereignty vs. representation, quality vs. quantity, liberty vs. equality, individual vs. collective, and, finally, the synchronicity between similarities and dissimilarities. The ubiquitous usage of democracy in present-day political language makes it impossible to speak of it from an external perspective. Thus, both democratic theory and practice are suffused with empirical and normative elements.

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Historicizing Strong Metaphors

A Challenge for Conceptual History

Rieke Schäfer

The debate between metaphor theorists and conceptual historians has been intensifying in recent years. This article takes this debate beyond the bias toward Blumenberg's metaphorology, and starts from the interaction view of metaphor as formulated by Max Black. The article opens with a theoretical framework that reformulates Black's notions of metaphorical resonance and emphasis. It adapts them to the requirements of Conceptual History, and adds a third, historical criterion for metaphoricity. It then applies these suggestions to the history of the metaphor play/game/Spiel/jeu within twentieth-century political thought. Here, the focus lies on the role this metaphor plays in the conceptual relations between the ideas of political order, conflict, and immanence.

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Helge Jordheim

The article singles out one dimension of the history of concepts in general and of Koselleck’s work in particular, the “theory of historical times,” which at present is both contested and simply overlooked. After discussing some of the arguments for and against the necessity of such a theory for the practice of conceptual history, the article moves on to suggest an alternative context for grasping its originality, the so-called linguistic turn, manifest in French structuralist thought and especially in the works of Michel Foucault. In Koselleck’s works key structuralist ideas like structure and the diachronicsynchronic opposition are developed in ways that open them to questions of historicity and multiple times.

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Dealing with an Ocean of Meaninglessness

Reinhart Koselleck's Lava Memories and Conceptual History

Margrit Pernau and Sébastien Tremblay

is however highly productive to use his theorization of both Historik and concepts as a point of departure for the analysis of memory within the scope of conceptual history. Furthermore, this importance of feelings and Sinnlichkeit are also

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Ottoman Conceptual History

Challenges and Prospects

Alp Eren Topal and Einar Wigen

Why Do Ottoman Conceptual History? Introducing a Field In this article, we argue for using conceptual history to reevaluate Ottoman intellectual history and its relationship with social and political history. We discuss the various benefits

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The Social Life of Fighting Words

The Case of Political Correctness

Ronald S. Stade

will be seen in subsequent sections, it was not “hard-rightwing forces” that invented the concept of political correctness. The conceptual history of political correctness is far richer. It begins in the eighteenth century and stretches into our own