The Physics of History Braudel and the concept of event

Tomasz Falkowski



The problem of the concept of „event” in Braudel’s oeuvre is more complex than it seems to be. The author tries to analyse this question on three different levels. In the first part of the article he shows that in the schema of „traditional history”, reconstructed by Braudel, the historical event loses all its characteristic features. It becomes uniform, abstract, and functions there as a negative element of history. The second part is devoted to the position and meaning of event within a theoretical model of history which is usually called „the global history „. Against the traditional approaches to this question the author of the article claims that there is not a pure or strong opposition between structure and event. The latter starts to be structural and that’s why it becomes more concrete and specific. Moreover, the event allows for revealing long-term historic process and structures. Finally, in the third part of his article, the author presents the history arisen from Braudel’s historical analysis as a kind of evolutionary system. Owing to this fact he can coin a concept of „historic mutation”, a special form of transformation, which could characterize the role of event in the historic development.



The paper was originally published as Fizyka historii. Braudel i pojęcie zdarzenia, “Klio” 2010, vol. 14 (1), pp. 3–32.

Słowa kluczowe

Fernand Braudel; methodology; Annales; traditional history; eventual history

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