André Burguière

The History of the Annales School Publication date : September 1, 2006

A new approach to history was developed in France in the late 1920s around the history journal Annales d’histoire économique et sociale (Yearbook of Economic and Social History). The Annales School, as it became known, replaced history’s traditional focus on battles and kings with a new interest in the history of civilisations; it replaced the history of great leaders with that of anonymous citizens, their work and their attitudes.
This book reviews the history of the Annales School, beginning with the period between the two world wars. It includes portrayals of the founders — Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre —as well as of members of the second generation such as Fernand Braudel, Ernest Labrousse, Emmanuel Leroy-Ladurie, François Furet, Philippe Ariès and Michel Foucault.
Because the influence of the Annales School was so widespread, this book is a major contribution to the study of French intellectual history during the second half of the twentieth century, when French thinkers played a major part in developing new approaches to the social sciences.
The author reviews the contributions of the School, but also examines its failings and critiques its methodology and conceptions.
As managing editor of the journal Annales and, later, as a member of its editorial board, André Burguière witnessed the development of the School’s ideas from within. But he also viewed them from without, writing about the School as a regular contributor to the weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur. No one would have been better qualified than Burguière to write a history of the Annales School and to bring to life the people and the ideas behind it.
This is a fascinating story by an author who held a privileged position as both an insider and an outsider.

André Burguière, a historian, is a director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He has edited several essential collective works, including Histoire de la famille (1986) and Histoire de la France (1989).