Historiography: structural temporality from Braudel


Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
Canary Islands-Spain
Hi guys, I think around the importance of the different history subjects, particularly about the very long lasting impacts of some elements in human societies. I recently found myself interested on vulcanology and the human relation to it in my islands, and found certain basic connections through time due to basic geographical factors (for instead, cave living, influence of strems availability to agricultural organization etc).

So I recalled how Fernand Braudel divided the history time. He's mostly reminded because of his two divisions of time, one "long durée" and one short, or microhistory (but I don't like this term in this case, because of its more accurate association to very small examples to study wider events, for example "The cheese and the worms" of Carlo Ginzburg). However, in his paramout work "The Mediterranean...", Braudel defined three times, one very deep, associated to the enviroment, another deep, to stable transgenerational social structures, and one shallow related to events, politics, wars, leaders, diplomacy etc. I summarized the ideas here, though with a personal touch (he didn't put economy on that bottom position, that's mine, because I consider economy the direct link between humans and the enviroment; an expert on animist religions might disagree)

When we go to history production, currently, and with the exception of the 60-70's social hegemony, it would look more like this. The statistics are totally made up by me, I added some works to make an example

I wanted to share these summer reflections on the issue...
Last edited:
Jan 2010
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Thanks Frank. I'm a big fan of Braudel in general, and The Mediterranean in particular. I can't disagree in general with your chart of how historians work. It would be interesting to do a survey of the literature and plug some actual percentages in.

I do think that we're getting more works in the lower two categories today; traditionally, it would seem most fell into the top.

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