Braudel Fernand

Braudel Fernand

(1902-85) influential historian, associated with the ANNALES SCHOOL. His best-known work, translated as The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World of the Age of Philip II (2 vols., 1972-73, originally 1949, expanded in 1966), exemplifies the approach characteristic of members of the school, which is to move beyond conventional political histories by focusing in detail on the material basis of political events, while also tracing their global interconnections. In his analysis of the change in the direction of Spain's foreign policy under Philip II (towards the Atlantic and away from the Mediterranean), demographic and cultural as well as economic data are combined with more conventional political analysis. Braudel was interested in the different pace of social change in different eras and in different areas of social reality. Beneath the short-term ‘events’ uppermost in conventional histories, there are longer-term changes which take centuries or millennia. In these terms, in Civilization and Capitalism (trans. 1973-82), Braudel presents an account of the development of the world economy from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution. Critics of Braudel complain that, in de-emphasizing the independent significance of political ‘events’, his work may have gone too far in redressing the balance between social and political history For others, Braudel's work has been inspirational, leading modern comparative sociological historians such as WALLERSTEIN to use it as a model for their own.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000