The Annales School is a school of French historians with a sociological inclination connected to the Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch-founded periodical Annales d’histoire economique et sociale. Its vision and mission are to bring historical studies and social sciences closer together in an interdisciplinary approach. Both its ties to Marxism and sociology have been robust.
Members of the school have particularly stressed the significance of social and economic history as well as long-term historical patterns. They are distinguished by their resistance to conventional national, political, chronological, and narrative history.
In addition to deviating from traditional analytical frameworks and methodologies in historical research, their methodologies took into account a wide range of geophysical, demographic, cultural, and social structural elements.
The shared standpoint of Annales School includes
(1) Downgrades conventional narrative history focused on political, military, and religious elites (such as the German Leopold von Ranke’s “scientific history” of the nineteenth century)
(2) Welcomes a variety of data sources, social science approaches, and ideas.
The variety of their scholarly output is a monument to the strength of peers, teachers, and students supporting one another in a wide range of interdisciplinary questions, even though those themes are sometimes unrelated to their own.
When Immanuel Wallerstein used Braudel’s The Mediterranean to develop his global system theory in the 1970s, the Annales School rose to prominence in historical sociology.
The Annales School attempted to create a “whole history” as a criticism of historical methods that just provided a timeline of events. They shifted the focus from political history to a macro-historical examination of civilizations across extended periods.
The Annales School, composed of Maurice Halbwachs, Andre Siegfried, Fernand Braudel, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, and Georges Duby, was distinguished by its interdisciplinary approach and interest in studying very long historical epochs and focus on social structure. Some school members also used quantitative methods and looked at the relationship between the physical environment, material culture, and society.
A sample of Annales School of thought’s work
Feudal Society by Marc Bloch combines meticulous attention to detail, comparative analysis, and innovation. The first academics published authoritative papers that posed fundamental questions regarding the historical topic. Marc Bloch covered various topics, including feudalism, a social structure that persisted for generations, and a persistent belief about the king’s purported capacity to cure by touch.