As Martin L. Davies argues in his article “Disobedience Reconsidered: History, Theory, and the Morality of Scholarship,” non-compliance with social norms is defined as the opposition and challenge to an apparent unassailable order of the world. Through disobedience, argues Davies, historical fact is challenged and a given state of the world is examined for its arbitrary rules and norms. Ideological concepts of ‘separate spheres’ therefore become challenged through memoir such as A. May’s and through rigorous historical analysis. Davies conceives of history as an abstract tool for capitalism, which documents the past and uses that data to successfully pursue capitalist endeavour. According to Davies the writing of History “academicizes, which means it historicizes, which means it neutralizes”. That is to say, the mechanism by which history works is through disobedience, or by challenging perceived social norms, conclusions, and dominant thought; the truth of the present is what molds the truths of the past, and through reconstruction and reinterpretation of the past historical work redefines the past and the present.
Davies, Martin L. “Disobedience Reconsidered: History, Theory, and the Morality of Scholarship.” Rethinking History, 17, 2 (2013): 191-210.