It is the most interesting and innovative approach to history. The pathfinder of the field was the German Historian George G Igger. He developed it as a methodology in 1970’s to counter the traditional methodology of Social sciences. The basic objection of him was that through the traditional methodology it is not possible to know the concrete reality of small scale life. The small scale life refers to the Anthropological, Cultural, Sociological, Political, Economic and all other inclusive characteristic features of a society or individual or any productive unit or life System.
The originators of micro History thought that it is a methodology to be applied only in the field of cultural and Social History. But it is not so. Any object of the study dealing with the primary Docieties Group or individual or languages or Knowledge or Experience and perfectives of the marginalized mainly come under Micro-History. Ginzburg, a micro historian criticized the large scale quantitative studies on the grounds for the distorted reality on the individual level. The micro Historians placed their emphasis on Small categories of life in which how people conducted their lives.
Suych people or society has no wider identity or acceptance for generation together. Even contemporary such categories will come under the domain of micro history. Micro historians never move to general ideas, class terms, or universal or to the formation of concepts. Here historian deals with the “particular” not the general. Purpose of history is to illustrate the meaning of an subject. But usually an object is understood according to the four categories such as substance, activity, quality and relationship. People of a living society is the substance. Every thing that starts from human or human beings.
He is either conditioned or independent to perform his duty as a member of the society. This activities are his shown. Selective or impulse actions determine the quality of his actions. The human find a relationship with the activity and quality. Everything in this network is with in the particular. This micro area of action is unique in the sense that it is not related to general. It is unblemished and distinct. Usually the historian understand the object intune with the cause and effect. The nature of cause and effect depend upon the vicious mind of the historian.
Yet the micro historians more likely to reveal the complicated functions of individual relationship with each and every social settings and they stress difference from large norms . They tend to focus on the object which did not come under historical scrutiny in a wider cantext or already handled. Themes in micro history are always obscure, strange and less known unless and otherwise it has become the subject matter. Sometimes, the micro historians also deal with the instutions in power and how they deal with the affairs of the people.
The deal and its reations affecting a specific group deserves more attention. Because the reactions are not same in all the societies. To able to illustrate their point, micro- method where they get opportunity to present their findings by which conclusions are reached. Features of micro-history: The most common feature of micro history is the study of the past on very small scale. Studies include looking at individuals of minor importance or analyzing a simple painting etc. It is usual It is usually done in close collaboration with other social sciences. ‘
Here the subject of study very often unknown or minor importance unless analysed in relation to human nature and his role in a particular social space. P. Malinowiki field research technique attributed symbolic meaning and identity to an object of study. Richard H. Davis of the view that an object of historians analysis depend upon contextual enquiry. An objects identity is re-invented or fabricated afresh with each new context enquiry. Hence the object of study one and the same time carries more than one meaning and a meaning can have more than one significance for a verity or addresses.
Again the methodology of micro – history under gone changes due to the theories of post modernism, with the emergence of structuralist conception of history by saussures and levi strauses. They say that there is no exciting object . But it is fixed by the relation ship between the signifier and the signified. The identity of an object is not in relation to the object but their internal differences . Hence according to the saussures individual elements of a system have significance when considered in relation to the structure as a whole.
As per this the micro development will become significant when it becomes a part of micro history or it will have a different treatment by the craft historian. Micro history always remain as micro. It is subjected to the reconstruction process. In such process, the subjective element may set in. Post modernist like derrida and Foucault of the view that “history is in pure form does not exist”. Theories, interpretation and explanations can have little to do with the facts of the past since such exercise reflects the subjective view point of the historian.
In this connection the view of the post modernist starnds valid. To them history is perpcetual knowledge, an assertion which deprives the past of its hegemony over the present. No doubt, past is constructed by the perspective knowledge of Historian. At he same time micro-Hiistorians are trying to communicate a specific meaning in associationwith ideas derived from other social sciences. In this effort micro-Historian makes History more scientific. Nature of the sources for micro-History are rather different from Macro History.
The format is more contented with the Conventional sources where as later is of Conventionalsources. It is not a rule but an option. Sources associated with Folk, oral, Myth and little tradition are taken as the main channel for narration for Micro History. Classical, written Historical and grate tradition related relics are the main stay to Macro-History. Folkore, oral History, proverbs, Novels and fictions are the reflection from the substance, but not the Shadow of life. First among the non-conventional sources used for Micro History is Folk Lore.
They are the cultural survivals in oral forms. They were not reduced in written form till recently. They have been transmitted orally over generation to generation. It is very difficult to find out the authorship of the folk literature. Proverbs are still largely used by the masses and form a part of their daily language. The village people use proverbs in practical life for practical purpose. Rev, Herman Jenson had collected more than two thousand proverbs from Tamilnadu and published a book in 1897. Herman says one can look deeply in to the recesses of the native heart.
Proverbs also reflects the ethics of the society. Novels and fiction formed another variety of sources to explain the undercurrent of the society. A novel is a school of manners, a Forum of debate, a picture o f history, and a pocket theatre. Tradition is almost the safe source of undated History. Oral accounts have been considered as an authentic and distorted version of reality, says some conventional historians. The wriitten word is seen as providing the possibility of scientific discourse where as the ‘oral’ is relegated to ‘Folk and Lock’.
But, for Micro History, it is one of the important sources which provide the Flesh and blood of the Native life. Oral tradition have been very important to a culture with or without writings. These are the in valuable sources in understanding peoples categories and textures of consciousness. For Micro History myth has been assumed primitive and traditional. Levi strauss has identified myth with the primitive societies. Myths aimed for another deeper mode of understanding and representating experience. Myth suggests a culture’s coding of truth-values through narrative.
It refers to set of sequentially arranged images each of which is, inturn, a dense network of meaning and references. It gives moral values and vision of the past. According to Nietzsche, “every culture that has lost myth has lost its natural healthy creativity. The data gathered through participant observation in festivals, ceremonies, public performances and ritual celebrations given the voice of the people than the structure of society. These sources very much used for Micro History Analysis in times of the changing faces of marginalized, subalters, women and other categories of forgotten lot.
Micro History will help us to aware of the social grounding of Human Thought. It has emphasized the point of human reality in a socially constructed reality. Micro History is a form of Knowledge of consciousness , is a social constructed from the social location. As in the words of D. P. Chattopadhya “There is no unique method of writing history. It is partly depends upon the subject matter, Partly upon the time when it is being wiitten, partly upon the cultural milieu as a member of which it is being wriitten and various other related factors”.