Definition of historicism in English:

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Pronunciation: /hɪˈstɒrɪsɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
1The theory that social and cultural phenomena are determined by history.
Example sentences
  • He explains Weber's transition from historicism to a historical social science.
  • How new are cultural materialism and new historicism, for instance?
  • To explicate this paradigm, the study, in addition to the tenets of border theory, draws on the insights of historicism and postcolonial theory.
1.1The belief that historical events are governed by natural laws.
Example sentences
  • The role of romance is to assimilate the ‘progress’ of society by naturalizing history via a certain kind of historicism.
  • In other words, the primary structures Lukacs identified when criticizing the historicism of the naturalist novel could exist in artworks that portrayed no historical content whatsoever.
  • I see a Wordsworthian version of Romantic historicism as self-reflexive, operating within the competing temporalities of modernity.
2The tendency to regard historical development as the most basic aspect of human existence.
Example sentences
  • Another dilemma for the human-rights project is the challenge of historicism and relativism.
3(In artistic and architectural contexts) excessive regard for past styles.
Example sentences
  • Like architect Charles Moore, Smyth embraced overt historicism as a response to such a setting.
  • He argued broadly as follows: Nineteenth-Century historicism had debased the currency of traditional architectural forms.
  • This is historicism, and sits comfortably in the old modernist ‘hegemony’ Jencks thinks this is beyond.



Example sentences
  • Like Lukács, too, he is a Hegelian historicist for whom the art that matters is one flushed with the dynamic forces of its age.
  • But while Hobbes was a rationalist, Machiavelli was an historicist.
  • This is post-metaphysical historicism, after all, and what historicists do is narrate.


Late 19th century: from historic, translating German Historismus.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: his¦tori|cism

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