Definition of historicism in English:


Line breaks: his¦tori|cism
Pronunciation: /hɪˈstɒrɪsɪz(ə)m


[mass noun]
  • 1The theory that social and cultural phenomena are determined by history.
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    • 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.
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    • 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Lukacs identified when criticizing the historicism of the naturalist novel could exist in artworks that portrayed no historical content whatsoever.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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.



More 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.

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