Historical Narrative Systems

Nicolás Lavagnino


The objective of this article is to explore the main idea that lies behind Hayden White’s philosophy of history concerning the very nature of historical narratives. My main hypothesis is that Whitean narrativist theory may acquire a significant improvement when seen from the perspective of Systems Theory. In a nutshell, what I intend is to outline some main topics that have arisen during these four decades of narrativist theory, from the point of view of some terms related to Systems Theory, in the understanding that they provide a key to the comprehension of Whitean theory. My motto is, then, that we finally understand the core thesis of Whitean philosophy of history, the tropological basis of historiographical discourse, only if we accept the main idea that narratives are, after all, systems that operate under (systemic) tropological procedures. For us to understand what is a historical system presupposes that we have previously grasped what is a system at all.

Palabras clave

narrativism, systems theory, tropology, autopoiesis

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EDUNTREF – Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. Centro Cultural Borges, Viamonte esq. San Martín 3p. (C1053ABK) Ciudad de Buenos Aires, República Argentina. www.metatheoria.com.ar. ISSN 1853-2330.