Is Everyone a Mentalité Case? Transference and the "Culture" Concept

The elusive ideal of a consensus in society sought by an earlier generation of historians seems to have been displaced onto the community of historians themselves, for the concept of "culture" is well on the way to becoming the totem for a consensus on the proper object and method of research in historiography.
The concept has already won its privileged place in anthropology, and
it is from that discipline that recent historians have made the greatest borrowings in their attempt to define and apply the "culture" concept. Yet the very proliferation of definitions is a sign of the impediments to consensus and of
the need for inquiry into the problems left unresolved by an almost oneiric reliance
on the concept of culture, especially when it is used to effect an uncritical
assimilation of intellectual and social history.
One such problem is the transferential relation between practices in the past
and historical accounts of them. I use "transference" in the modified psychoanalytic sense of a repetition-displacement of the past into the present as it necessarily bears on the future...