2011년 5월 4일 수요일

Fernand Braudel (explained in A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory)

자료: A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory
Michael Payne, Jessica Rae Barbera 편집, John Wiley and Sons, 2010 펴냄.

* * *
Fernand Braudel (1902-1985)
항목 기술자: Immanuel Wallerstein

I.
French historian who was first and foremost a critical theorist, although this is a phrase he would never have applied to himself. He regarded himself as a historian of the longue durée, one who thought that good history was histoire pensée, that is, history which provided responses to serious intellectual questions.

He is one of three towering figures of the Annales school of history, the leader of the so-called second generation (the first generation having been led by its founders, Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch). The Annales school stood for the coming together and mutual fructification of history and the social sciences. It stood in opposition to all forms of mindless EMPIRICISM, which Braudel termed histoire événementielle. It stood equally opposed to all structural universalism that asserted generalizations purporting to hold true throughout time and space. In short, the Annales school refused to be trapped in the Methodenstreit, rejecting equally the nomothetic and idiographic stances. The Annales school was thus established on the basis of a profound critique of the major methodological and substantive premises of a very large part of the writings of historians and social scientists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fernand Braudel made two stunning contributions to contemporary thought. They are to be found primarily in his two great (and very large) books: The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (1949; 2nd edition, amplified, 2 vols, 1966); and Civilization and Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century (1979, 3 vols). The first contribution is the concept of multiple social temporalities. The second contribution is his upside-down analysis of capitalism as a mode of production{과연?} and a civilization. The Mediterranean began as an an analysis of the regime of Philip II of Spain. In writing it, Braudel turned the story around. It became the story of the Mediterranean world as a (not the) world-economy. The hyphen in the word "world-economy" was crucial to Braudel, because in French he had coined the term économie-monde precisely to distinguish it from économie mondiale, usually translated into English as "world economy" without the hyphen (see discussion in Braudel, 1984, pp. 21-4).

II.
The Mediterranean world was a world-economy in that it had a discernable division of labor with dominant cities and a hierarchy. It was a "world theater," with boundaries and an identity, but one that bestrode politicall and cultural frontiers. A world-economy was a space-time zone with a history. Such a conception brought to the fore the essential intellectual question Braudel sought to address: If a given space-time zone has a history, indeed if the space and time form its history but its history defines its space and time as well, how can one know, how can one defines categories of space and time? For most of modern thought, space and time were just thereㅡimplacable, unbudgeable, exogenous parameters{고정불변의 외생변수} to the lives and actions of individuals, groups, and social structures. One recorded the last in time and space. Time and space were not themselves empirical variables to study.

Braudel said no to this standard view. Time and space were, he argued, the central empirical variables to study, since they were social creations. He argued this by demonstration in The Mediterranean. He argued this theoretically in his key methodological article, "Histoire et sciences sociales: La longue durée," published in Annales E.S.C in 1958.

For Braudel, there were three real social temporalities and a fourth mythical one. The three real ones he termed STRUCTURE, conjuncture, and event, which correlated with long, medium, and short time. Short time, histoire événmentielle, episodic history was the social temporality explored by most historians. It was history of kings and battles, the history of dates and chronology, the history of infinite contingencies. But, said Braudel in The Mediterranean, "events are dust." They are dust because they matter little and change little. And they are dust because they prevent one from seeing the underlying real structures.

Structures exist in the longue durée, which may last hundreds, even thoudands of years; but they are never eternal. Structures are those continuing underlying social patterns which provide the continuing constraints on our actions.[:]
  • They may represent patterned cultural, economic, or political modes of dealings with, and reacting to, natural phenomena (from climate to topography to parasites) 
  • or particular sociocultural modes of perceiving social reality (such as world views or normative rules governing social hierarchies). 
  • Their crucial aspect is that, in the short run, structures are fixed and therefore the framework within which the impact of events is limited.
And in between structures and events lie the conjonctures (inadequately translated into English as conjunctures). They represent the cyclical rhythms which are the normal fluctuations of all structures. Most of these fluctuations are middle-run, says Braudel, constituting discernable temporary but important shifts in the global context (such as periods of overall economic expansion versus periods of overall economic contraction).

Braudel's contribution was to insist that serious history, histoire pensée, was the explication of the structures and the conjunctures, and not of the eventsㅡand also not of that mystical time-space, the eternal time-space of the structural universalities{시공의 제약에서 벗어난 구조적 보편성} (prime example cited by Braudel being Lévi-Strauss).

III.
Braudel has become so associated with the concept of the longue durée that some of his readers have failed to notice the equally critical concept of capitalism. If The Mediterranean was organized as a tale told three times, about three time spaces (strucrture, conjuncture, event), Civilization and Capitalism is organized as a tale told about three storeys in the building of {economic life}: the ground floor of everyday life, the middle floor of the market, and the upper storey of capitalism. [:]

[1] In some ways, everyday life is akin to structures. Braudel is speaking here of patterns of very long duration whose reality constrains the actions of people and institutions in the shorter run.
  • However, if "structures" seemed to refer to macrophenomena (the relationship of mountain-dwellers to plain-dwellers, the wind patterns, the Roman limes as a continuing cultural boundary), 
  • the economy of everyday life seemed to refer primarily to very microphenomena (the patterns of cooking food, growing staples, costume, and the use of farm animals). These patterns provided the unspoken, unanalyzed basis of real economic life.
[2] The next storey, that of the market, was seen by Braudel in a very particular way. He defined the market as the zone of multiple buyers and sellers and therefore of "small" profits, of regularity, and of {liberation from constraints}. This may not seem exceptional, except that he quite explicitly saw the state as having played the role historically of preserving the freedom of the market by regulating it.

[3] The great enemy of the market for Braudel, what he called anti-market, was not the state but capitalism. Capitalism was [:]
  • the opaque zone on top of, imposed upon, the market, 
  • the zone of "exceptional" profits via monopolies, and via the state in so far as it was the guarantor of monopolies. 
  • Far from being regular, capitalism was speculative. 
  • Far from being the zone of supply and demand, capitalism was the zone of power and cunning.
Braudel turned upside down the classical picture of capitalism (that of both Adam Smith and Karl Marx) as normally competitive and only abnormally monopolistic. For Braudel, the whole point of capitalismㅡreal capitalism, as seen historically in the longue duréeㅡwas the effort to suppress the freedom of the market in order to maximize profit.

IV.
The impact of these two critical concepts of Braudelㅡ(1)multiple social temporalities and the priority of structure and conjuncture over event; and (2)capitalism as the anti-marketㅡis only now beginning to show its impact on history and the social sciences. Braudel represents one of the most original readings of the modern world and one of those most likely to form the basis of conceptual analyses in the 21st century.

Reading

1. Braudel, Fernand 1958 (1972): "History and the social sciences: the longue durée."
2. ㅡㅡ 1949 (1973): ^The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II^.
3. ㅡㅡ 1979(1981-4): ^Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century^.
4. Wallerstein, Immanuel 1991: ^Unthinking Social Science: The Limits of 19th-Century Paradigms^. Part IV: "Revisiting Braudel."

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