History Glossary

Annales, Annales �School�

Annales is the historical journal founded in 1929 by LucienFebvre and Marc Bloch, and given a new lease of life after 1945 when it wasassociated with the prestigious Ecole Des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales(to give the institution its most recent name. Annales, the journal, andthe �school� loosely associated with it, and the Ecole, are characterised aboveall by an insistence that history should make use of the discoveries of thesocial sciences and incorporate social science methods. The approach (which infact is far more diverse than usually assumed) has been described as structuralfunctionionalist, and certainly Annales historians, strongly influencedby structuralism in anthropology, place great emphasis on what they perceive tobe underlying structures in history.

Arts

in British universities a Faculty of Arts usually includes such subjects asEnglish (or Literature), Philosophy, Art History, and also History. Sometimes�The Arts� connotes these various disciplines; on other occasions it means the�creative� arts � that is to say, painting, poetry, sculpture and so on.

Assimilationist

the view that history should be assimilated to the methods of the natural sciences.

Autonomous

when applied to history means that history is not part of literature, or thesciences, or of cultural studies, but has its own specialist methodology.

Capitalism

used in a general way by historians to describe the kind of economic system that hasexisted for at least the last 100 or 200 years in �the West,� very definitelyfrom the time of industrialisation, and with respect to important elements,since the commercial developments of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenthcenturies. In Marxist discourse there is a more precise meaning, Marxismpostulating that capitalism is the social order, which succeeds feudalism,having overthrown it, and is now, in the contemporary period, subject tooverthrow by working class or socialist revolution.

Class

as generally used by historians, it means the broad aggregations of families and individuals into which modern societies divide, these aggregations falling into a rough hierarchy according to the wealth, influence, power or whatever possessed individuals within each aggregation, and generally characterised by common lifestyles, patterns of behaviour and so on. Such historians would see classes as coming into existence only in, say the later eighteenth century, under the impetus of industrialisation and the political upheavals of the time. Marxists however, apply the term to all periods of history, and in a precise technical way. According to Marxism a person�s class is determined by their relationship to the dominant mode of production, and in every �stage� of history one class will dominate � for example the bourgeois, or capitalist, class in the age of capitalism.

Class consciousness

this is a specifically Marxist term and occurs, or is alleged to occur, when member of a class become aware of the way in which their interests are in conflict with those of another class and are prepared to take action in pursuit of their interests.

Comparative history

history which, by fixing on like or analogous institutions or practices in differentcountries, produces comparisons and contrasts between these countries.