The editors introduce the core areas of current debate within historical theory, bringing the reader as up to date with continuing debates and current developments as is possible. The book is divided into three parts, covering: • Part I. Foundations: The Theoretical Grounds for Knowledge of the Past • Part II. Applications: Theory-Intensive Areas in History • Part III. Coda. Post-Postmodernism: Directions and Interrogations This important handbook brings together in one volume discussions of the role of modernity, empiricism, realism, post-modernity and deconstruction in the historian's craft. Chapters are written by leading writers from around the world and cover a wide spread of historical sub-disciplines, such as social history, intellectual history, narrative, gender, memory, psycho-analysis and cultural studies, taking in, along the way, the work of thinkers such as Paul Ricouer, Michel Foucault and Hayden White. The Sage Handbook of Historical Theory is an essential resource for practicing historians, and students of history, and will appeal to scholars in related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities who seek a closer understanding of the theoretical foundations of history.
Chapter 4: The Annales School: Variations on Realism, Method and Time
The Annales School: Variations on Realism, Method and Time
The Annales School has enjoyed more success, and exerted greater influence on professional and public opinion, than comparable schools; it has also courted controversy. But so unavoidable has it become that, particularly in the Anglophone world, historians sometimes attribute to Annales other schools’ approaches.1 Observers also deploy the collective noun metonymically: the Annales School stands sometimes for an ‘informal network’ of historians, who provide ‘mutual assistance’ to each other; at other times it is an esprit, a ‘paradigm’, ‘a new social and economic history’, a ‘movement’ or a ‘current of thought’.2 According to its founders, however, Annales never constituted a school in any of these senses.3 This chapter provides ...