The introduction to the volume outlines the approaches represented in the following chapters, discusses their importance and identifies running themes and the avenues of research that they open, and sets them into the wider framework of possible forms of fruitful engagement between ancient Greek history and the social sciences. It explores the methodologies employed in recent work, in particular by the author (Josiah Ober), to show that engagement with the social sciences is not just about using quantified data to test explanatory hypotheses. The chapter is also, explicitly, written for two audiences: on the one hand it strives to describe the advantages that thoughtful engagement with the social sciences can bring to the ancient historian; on the other hand, it addresses social scientists and makes the case for the significance of the ancient world (and of the ancient Greek polis in particular) as the source of privileged and (relatively speaking) abundantly documented case studies for testing modern theories.
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