Reply To: 3. 3 March – River History

Author Replies
Miguel Núñez # Posted on March 5, 2015 at 12:40

A reflection about the use of scientific methodologies in the reconstruction of the history.

As we discussed in the seminar around the article “Changes in water and land: the reconstructed Viennese riverscape from 1500 to the present” a very important issue in the making of written history, is those about the narrative styles which are used as well the methodologies to reveal new information. On one hand, we discussed about the way to tell past stories in the present, and on the other hand we agreed that scientific methods as data collection, cartography, and math models are very useful in the real consistence of anyone history that we want to tell.
It’s important to do a explanation regarding with the differences between the narrative and the research methodologies used in a academic or literary works. The narrative is composed by the style, the tone, the period and disposition in a text in order to engage with the lector and take its attention. Meanwhile the methodologies are those specific skills which allow to discover new information or understand it in a new way. Such for example, in the case of the riverscape reconstructions through GIS technology, it’s possible understand, after the analysis of historical information, how the river changed across time in a specific place. But after the coming of the social scientificist’s comprehension he/she must assume the challenge before the better way of communication. Here appears the topic around the narrative and the adequate channels to transmit scientific knowledge.
In our common discussion, I talked about the social sense that the peoples give to themselves based on their knowledge and histories, which allow them to interpret their current context to take informed decisions for their futures. In this sense, the critic reflections around the lack of ecological or social sense from scientific investigations are demands from common people, which must be benefited by the advances of the science in the world. The conflicts between the scientific knowledge, in this case the historical reconstruction of the Viennese riverscape, and the people who living as inhabitants, has been well studied by scholars and they have founded those field called “civic science”.
In my practice as lawyer -it´s a hypothetical case- I could argue for example, that the modifications over the human habits caused by the modification of the Viennese rivership, is in direct relation with the extinction of fishes species and with the modification of the diet of Viennese habitants. In this case, the information designed by the scientific researcher about the changes of the river, could be useful to claim people rights to the health and the free alimentation, for example. In this way, personally I could give social sense to the scientific narratives about the history of one river.