Part II. The History of Mentalities: the three paradigms “Structural”, “Quantitative” or “Serial” and “Integration”


Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan

Key words – History of Mentalities, “History Without People”, Human-Centered History, “Structural”, “Serial” or “Quantitative” and “Integrative” History of Mentalities.

The article discusses history of mentalities – the new paradigm worked out by the third generation of Annales School. Already in 1960s, a research project was developed in history focused on sociology and ethnology, semiotics and linguistics. It was aimed at overcoming the opposition of the two approaches in history – “history without people” and “anthropocentric history” – present already in the days of F. Braudel. The desire to respond to the like challenges led to the reconsideration of the problems of determinism in Braudel’s historical conception. Scholars traced a serious danger that the “mental framework could form a jail for the long time dimension of history.”

This was assessed as a failure of Braudel’s theory and marked a very considerable intellectual shift: if the representatives of the third generation of Annales initially followed the concept History without people”, now they intended to restore the former Anthropocentric approach to history. Consequently, the third generation again activated the concept of history of mentalities.

In general, differences in understanding of mentality are classified in the article as follows: a. structural, b. serial or quantitative, d. integrative.

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