The cultural critic Fredric Jameson once claimed historians while they were writing must think ‘self-consciously about their own thought’, to be both ‘conscious and self-conscious’ at one and the same time. 1 Although historians have always been aware that their reconstruction of the past can serve social, ideological and state ends, it is the nature of the discipline to which Jameson refers. 2 The philosopher of history Hayden White has also argued that historians must deal with the relationship between the form and content of history. 3 While every written history contains within itself a philosophy of history, the latter foregrounds its conceptual apparatus, whereas history proper conceals it within its own narrative structure. 4 White, following the French cultural critic Michel Foucault, also suggests that the act of writing history helps create social structures of power and group awareness. If we accept that in acquiring their conception of the world individuals always belong to a particular grouping which, as Antonio Gramsci says, ‘share the same mode of thinking and acting’, 5 then the reconstruction of the past, like every cultural practice, is an ideological act that is socially produced, and it follows that the act of writing a history is central to the process of cultural formation. 6