Annales School

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The École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris is one of the most important contemporary representatives of the Annales School

The Annales School is the most important multigenerational group of French historians in the 20th century. It established a new methodology and practice in historical studies ( nouvelle histoire ). Its three most important innovations were the turn to economy and society, the development of quantifiable material and the orientation towards long-term developments. The methodical approach of Karl Lamprecht was of fundamental importance for them .

The name is derived from its journalistic mouthpiece, the historical journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale founded by Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre in 1929 . The magazine exists - after some name changes - until today and has been called Annales since 1994 . Histoire, Sciences sociales and is published by the French elite university École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris .

Origin, development

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, French historians saw themselves massively attacked by representatives of related disciplines. History was considered obsolete because it only describes exemplary individual cases and is not theoretically capable (see also: historicism ). In the future it will at most be able to provide examples for sociologists . At the same time, the French geographer Paul Vidal de la Blache described the influence of the environment on human development, and "poached" with it in the field of historians.

The historians Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre then succeeded in making these neighboring disciplines usable for history. During their time at the University of Strasbourg in the 1920s, they cooperated closely with sociologists and geographers and adopted these methods in historical studies. Finally, in 1929, they founded the Annales, based on the model of the German journal Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, which had existed since 1903 . The support of the Belgian historian Henri Pirenne , who after the experiences of the First World War turned away from the German historian's school of the quarterly journal for social and economic history and promoted the project of Bloch and Febvre , also had a great influence .

After the Second World War, this school was given an institutional framework in the 6th section of the École pratique des hautes études, founded in 1947 (since 1975 École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales ) in Paris. In the period that followed, it became the most influential movement in French history and developed a great international impact. Many important chairs (e.g. Sorbonne , Collège de France ) were filled by representatives of the school. Annales historians also played a dominant role in the presentation of history to the French public (from book series by major publishers, essays on history in the major French newspapers such as Le Monde and Nouvelle Observateur to radio broadcasts such as Lundi de l'histoire by France Culture) Position.

More recently, Annales research has increasingly turned to mentalities . Most recently, biographies of individual persons came into focus again ( Jacques Le Goff ), whereby the typical of the Annales - turning away from individual individual cases - is now very blurred.

In Germany, the Annales School received little attention at first, but it was not until the 1970s that it became more popular.

The history of the Annales school

Historiography in the sense of the Annales means to this day a variety of methods and openness to new things, which is why it is difficult to speak of a special Annales historiography.

The main focus of the Annales, however, is the structural history : The impersonal forces that lead to the events count more than the event. Fernand Braudel , who examined the significance of the “quasi immobile” history of the earth for human life , went the furthest . He called these long cycles longue durée , and in his main work “ The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Epoch of Philip II ”, he described the influence of climate and landforms on people and society. Mental history and all kinds of quantitative history were also introduced into French history from the Annales school.

The Annales School also had to keep finding new sources for its questions - for the first time, Annales historians systematically examined wills, marriage certificates and sample files in order to find out more about the lives of ordinary people through statistics. Philippe Ariès used portraits to investigate the position of the child in society, and points of contact with archeology also repeatedly emerged.

The French medieval archeology benefited from this in its initial phase, since the interest v. a. The history of rural areas was also valid - in addition to Bloch and Le Roy Ladurie , this was also B. also Georges Duby .

The Annales School influenced numerous European and non-European researchers from various human science disciplines and schools, for example German social history or American world system theory , world history and environmental history .


The turning away from the history of events , from political, diplomatic and military history, as they were particularly represented in Germany, is criticized by some historians: The Annales School sometimes strays too far from the established facts, argue anachronistically, goes too far from that what to expect based on their theories and neglect political factors too much. This fundamental methodological dissent has not yet been resolved.

Representative of the Annales School

See also


  • Annales (magazine; changing titles and subtitles). Armand Colin, Paris 1929 ff. ISSN  0395-2649 ; The Dossiers series is published in addition to the magazine .
  • Marc Bloch , Fernand Braudel , Lucien Febvre : Writing and matter of history, proposals for the systematic appropriation of historical processes . Edited by Claudia Honegger. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-518-00814-5 .
  • Jacques Le Goff , Roger Chartier , Jacques Revel (eds.): La nouvelle histoire , Les encyclopédies du savoir moderne, Paris: Retz, CEPL, 1978
    • German edition of the abridged French new edition from 1988: The Recapture of Historical Thought: Foundations of New History , Fischer Taschenbuch 1994
  • Michael Harsgor: Total History: The Annales School . In: Journal of Contemporary History . tape 13 , no. 1 , January 1978, ISSN  0022-0094 , p. 1–13 , doi : 10.1177 / 002200947801300101 (also available from the Periodicals Archive Online).
  • Peter Burke : Open story. The school of the "Annales". Wagenbach Verlag, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-8031-3562-1 . (Paperback edition: Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-596-14074-9 ; updated and expanded in Die Geschichte der Annales. The emergence of the new historiography , Berlin : Wagenbach 2004, ISBN 3-8031-2503-0 .)
  • John Bintliff (Ed.): The Annales School and archeology. Leicester University Press, Leicester 1991, ISBN 0-7185-1354-1 .
  • Bryce Lyon, Mary Lyon (Editor): The Birth of Annales History: the letters of Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch to Henri Pirenne (1921-1935) , Brussels 1991
  • Lutz Raphael : The heirs of Bloch and Febvre. Annales historiography and nouvelle histoire in France. 1945–1980. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-608-91304-1 .
  • Matthias Middell, Steffen Collector (Ed.): Everything that has become has history. The School of the Annales in its texts 1929-1992. With an essay by Peter Schöttler , Reclam-Verlag, Leipzig 1994, ISBN 3-379-01479-6 .
  • André Burguière : L'Ecole des Annales. Une histoire intellectuelle , Paris, éditions Odile Jacob, 2006 (English translation: The Annales School, an Intellectual History, preface Timothey Tackett, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2009)
  • Peter Schöttler : The “Annales” historians and German history . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-16-153338-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Deutsch, La Nouvelle Histoire - the story of a success, Historical Journal, Volume 223, 1981, p. 108
  2. The reservations that were common in the 1950s are exemplified by the early, generally benevolent review by Karl Ferdinand Werner: Hauptströmungen der neuer Französischen Mittelalterforschung , in: Die Welt als Geschichte 13 (1953), pp. 187–197. The most massive polemics were voiced by Gerhard Ritter and Hermann Heimpel ; see. on this, for example, Heinz-Gerhard Haupt : Trends in the Federal Republic of France Research , in: Michael Nerlich (ed.): Critique of France Research 1871–1975, Karlsruhe 1977, pp. 188–199. The more informed critical comments by Robert Deutsch: “La Nouvelle Histoire” - The story of a success , in: Historische Zeitschrift 233 (1981), pp. 107–129; Michael Erbe: On the more recent French social history research. The group around the "Annales" , Fink, Darmstadt 1979. Ders .: On the reception of the Annales history in the Federal Republic , in: Lendemains 6 (1981), pp. 68-76; see. Ernst Hinrichs too : Can history be boarded up? Comments on Franco-German approaches in historical research, in: Lower Saxony State Center for Political Education (ed.): France and Germany. On the history of a productive partnership, Hanover 1986, pp. 129–143. More detailed information on the history of reception, especially in the German-language historiography Peter Schöttler in Middell / Collector (1994) and Steffen Kaudelka: Reception in the Age of Confrontation , French History and History in Germany 1920–1940, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2003, and Peter Schöttler: The “ Annales “-Historiker and the German historical science , Tübingen 2015 with numerous, mostly newly edited articles from the last decades by this author.
  3. Labrousse is not a member in the narrower sense, but is important with regard to the introduction of statistics and Marxist considerations as well as its role as doctoral supervisor, cf. Peter Burke : The story of the> Annales <. The emergence of the new historiography, Berlin 2004, p. 69.