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Braudel, Fernand (1902–85)

IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


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French historian who was first and foremost a critical theorist, although this is a phrase he would never have applied to himself. He regarded himself as a historian of the longue durée , one who thought that good history was histoire pensée , that is, history which provided responses to serious intellectual questions. He is one of three towering figures of the Annales school of history, the leader of the so-called second generation (the first generation having been led by its founders, Lucien Febvre and Marc B loch ). The Annales school stood for the coming together and mutual fructification of history and the social sciences. It stood in opposition to all forms of mindless E mpiricism , which Braudel termed histoire événementielle . It stood equally opposed to all structural universalisms that asserted generalizations purporting to hold true throughout time and space. In short, the Annales school refused to be trapped in the Methodenstreit , rejecting equally the nomothetic and idiographic stances. The Annales school was thus established on the basis of a profound critique of the major methodological and substantive premises of a very large part of the writings of historians and social scientists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Fernand Braudel made two stunning contributions to contemporary thought. They are to be found primarily in his two great (and very ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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