2011년 5월 23일 월요일

An excerpt: Braudel: Historical Time and the Horror of Discontinuity

자료: Braudel: Historical Time and the Horror of Discontinuity
출처: Olivia Harris, “Braudel: Historical Time and the Horror of Discontinuity”, History Workshop Journal, 57 (2004) 161-174

발췌: (...)
In rejecting an approach to the past that privileges rupture Braudel seeks to historicize modernity, and to modify the great periodizing devices at the heart of the social sciences. Another obvious case is that of ‘capitalism’ itself. BothThe Mediterranean and Capitalism and Material Life are sustained historical accounts of the developments normally associated with the term capitalism, but which refuse it as a principle of periodization. In a 1950 essay on historical economics Braudel is explicit:

the transition from one world to another is the great human drama on which we need to shed light. When Sombart and Sayou argue as to when modern capitalism was born, it is a rift of this sort [a structural rift] which they are looking for, even though they do not give it that name and cannot set a precise date for it. I do not seek a philosophy of these catastrophes.[주20: Braudel, On History, p.89; see also Afterthoughts, pp.112-4.]
In this version, while Braudel rejects notions of rupture and catastrophe, he does acknowledge that there was a ‘transition from one world to another’ and that this constitutes ‘the great human drama’. What are we to make of this? How different are these two worlds?

  • ‘Capitalism’, as he remarks elsewhere, ‘is protean, a hydra with a hundred heads’. While acknowledging the significance of capitalism as an organizing principle for understanding aspects of economic life from the 11th century to the present day, he sees it as a ‘restricted layer’ relating to activities that take place at the summit of economic life, and rejects it as an absolute category of difference
  • The success of capitalism depends profoundly on the creativity of pre-capitalism, and the gradual success of capitalism has still not replaced all other forms of organization
  • Capitalism has betokened modernity, flexibility and rationality from its earliest beginnings. It is in the vanguard of the economic life of the past. Thus past moments and structures intermingle not only with the present but also with the future.[주21: Braudel, On History, pp.112-3; Afterthoughts, pp.40, 46-7; Capitalism and Material Life, p. xiii.]

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