...from the ‘Introduction’ to A People’s History, is an essential passage that betrays [reveals] Harman’s view on structure, and even suggests that his methodology is structural and systemic:
Simply empathising with the people involved in one event cannot, by itself, bring you to understand the wider forces that shaped their lives, and still shape ours. You cannot, for instance, understand the rise of Christianity without understanding the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. You cannot understand the ﬂowering of art during the Renaissance without understanding the great crises of European feudalism… You cannot understand the workers’ movements of the 19th century without understanding the industrial revolution. And you cannot begin to grasp how humanity arrived at its present condition without understanding the interrelation of these and many other events.The aim of this book is to try to provide such an overview. First, Harman speaks of wider forces, forces that go beyond the actions of individuals and thus become forces that are systemic. Not only this, such wider forces actively shape the actions and ideas of individuals.