“Critical Turn” or Frontal Reconstruction?

Smbat Kh. Hovhannisyan

The paper discusses the problems of the turning point of the late 1980s of the Annales school, which manifested itself in efforts to develop new historiography
tasks and research methods. This was a period that historians often call the “period of uncertainty”, the “crisis of intelligibility of historians” “epistemological anarchy”, etc. The crisis was the result of postmodern criticism of orientations and research paradigms, while at the same time an internal school reshuffle disrupted the old equilibrium. Historians, unable to find the necessary support in the social sciences, return to narrative and the traditional event. Therefore, judgments about the crisis acquire a completely different content and meaning, and the concept of “crisis” used is replaced by a “turn”, as it is more about forming a field of new possibilities of historiography. This is evidenced by the fact that at the end of 1989 various theoretical articles aimed at overcoming the crisis were found in the journal.

Despite all this, in the late 1980’s there were only signs of a fourth generation of annals, and perhaps some researchers are right to believe that such a generation
never took shape, because new historians have not articulated their unified response to the challenges facing history by changing the nature and meaning of their questions. So far, those huge difficulties that impede consolidation around a new alternative intellectual program have not been overcome.