Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
|Published (Last):||13 November 2012|
|PDF File Size:||5.17 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||6.50 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
When Gandhi was asked for his opinion on Western civilisation, his answer was that 'it would be a good idea'.
Implied in this flippancy is the notion that what we call civilisation is less the majestic architecture of skyscrapers and cathedrals, the displays of air squadrons and marching bands, the louder-than- thou pronouncements of the daily press, than some essential human quality Gandhi found lacking in the West.
The word 'civilisation', denoting the process by which this quality is achieved, is an 18th- century neologism penned by the French economist Turgot. According to ethnologists, who have taken to heart Pope's dictum about the proper study of mankind, certain societies are 'civilised', that is to say, materially advanced, while others are merely 'cultured'.
The dichotomy rings false: in Germany, Poland and Russia, 'culture' meaning, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'the refined understanding of the arts and other intellectual achievements' takes social precedence, while in France, Britain and the United States, 'civilisation' which the OED defines as 'an advanced stage or system of social development' is more highly prized.
But, pace ethnologists, can there be one without the other? Fernand Braudel died in , widely recognised as the father of a new kind of history which saw as its scope not only the chronicle of politics and warfare, but the business of economy, sociology, geography, psychology, literature, linguistics, the arts: civilisation, then, in its broadest sense, which includes the attributes of culture.
In the s, Braudel headed a movement that tried to reform the conventional teaching of history in the French schools by introducing a curriculum that began with anecdotes and. The new method needed a textbook, and Braudel wrote the first section of a three-part manual, published in under the collective title Le Monde actuel.
The movement failed, and l'histoire continued to be taught according to conservative norms. The manual, however, survived, and Braudel's page contribution, Grammaire des civilisations, has now been slightly updated and skilfully rendered into English by Richard Mayne as A History of Civilizations.
The English title is a rather curious choice. A 'grammar' has all the connotations of a system of rules by which relations between parts can be observed; 'history' implies little more than a chronology of those parts, and one that has been pre- established at that.
It is evident that Braudel's interest lies in the observation of history from a sober and objective distance. Civilisations, Braudel tells us, define themselves not only through what they produce but also through what they reject, a sort of definition by omission, as when the Christian East, before the fall of Constantinople, rejected Rome and looked towards the invading forces from Asia.
Furthermore, Braudel insists, civilisations require societies to support them; civilisations can always be located on a map. Students following Braudel's book would study the emergence and development of about a dozen civilisations: Islam, Africa, the Far East, China, India, Japan, Korea, Europe, Russia and America North and South, and in the process learn to distrust the facile explanations of geography in the case of Africa, for instance , the dogmas of economy China and Russia , the lures of science and the arts Europe , and, above all, to be wary of attributing praise and blame.
In fact, Braudel's book is above all a cautionary lesson, attempting to teach an overview of history and yet trying to avoid over-simplification and catchphrase thinking. The problem with this task is not that it is colossal, but that it is impossible. Contemporary details are necessary to see what happened anywhere in the past and, in spite of his own proscription, Braudel happily introduces illuminating stories and revelatory comments so that, from time to time, a character, place or movement appears in full colour - Mohammed, the kingdom of Benin, the Italian Renaissance, modern Quebec - like an illustration in the text.
Nor is Braudel shy of endowing societies and events with human emotions in order to explain a change or a rupture. Speaking about the Chinese Revolution, for instance, he argues that 'Pride has its part in the process - pride was at least one link with the ancient past, when China was confident of its role at the centre of the universe.
Notes like this, however canny, cannot but be read as shorthand, drawing our attention to one single characteristic of a vast and complex social movement. In spite of its wide range, the historian's viewpoint remains Eurocentric: implicit in the comparisons, in the adjectives, even in the chronology of this book is the assumption that Braudel's Europe or is it France?
But would it be possible to write A History of Civilizations without belonging to one? How, then, to read this handbook that proclaims not to be one? One-volume world histories are legion: H G Wells, Salvador de Madariaga, Sir Walter Ralegh, Friedrich Heer among many others have written syntheses to prove, variously, that humankind is doomed or blessed, never changes or will always change.
Braudel seems to have written his Grammaire to prove that what matter in history are the vast sweeping changes of multiple civilisations, changes in which individuals have hardly any say. Thomas De Quincey, inheritor of the Greek tradition, argued in that history, being composed of events that can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways, is inexhaustible and cannot be interpreted, or can be interpreted only as the human figures we imagine in the shapes of clouds.
Braudel must have agreed: he saw history, that kaleidoscope of civilisations whose essentials he tried to encode, as a force in itself, beyond the individual actions of a single human being.
You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
Start your Independent Premium subscription today. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium.
It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium.
The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates.
Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile.
Long reads. Coronavirus Advice. Lockdown Guide. UK Politics. Lib Dems. Green Party. Boris Johnson. Jeremy Corbyn. US Politics. Help The Hungry. Shappi Khorsandi. Mary Dejevsky. Robert Fisk. Mark Steel. Janet Street-Porter. John Rentoul. Matthew Norman. Sean O'Grady. Tom Peck. Andrew Grice. Stop the Wildlife Trade. Rugby union. US sports. Miguel Delaney. Streaming Hub. Geoffrey Macnab.
Clarisse Loughrey. Ed Cumming. Royal Family. Tech news. Tech culture. The Competition. Money transfers. Health insurance. Money Deals. Voucher Codes. Just Eat. National Trust. Climate Blogs. UK Edition.
US Edition. Log in using your social network account. Please enter a valid password. Keep me logged in. Want an ad-free experience? Subscribe to Independent Premium. View offers. Download the new Independent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines Download now. Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists.
Update newsletter preferences. Comments Share your thoughts and debate the big issues. Join the discussion. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Create a commenting name to join the debate Submit. Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted. Loading comments
Grammaire des civilisations (CHAMPS HISTOIRE)
In addition to specifying the name s of the creator s when making use of their work, please acknowledge the source of the material as follows:. Have more information? Found a mistake? Help us complete missing information.
Résumé: Grammaire des Civilisations - Fernand Braudel
When Gandhi was asked for his opinion on Western civilisation, his answer was that 'it would be a good idea'. Implied in this flippancy is the notion that what we call civilisation is less the majestic architecture of skyscrapers and cathedrals, the displays of air squadrons and marching bands, the louder-than- thou pronouncements of the daily press, than some essential human quality Gandhi found lacking in the West. The word 'civilisation', denoting the process by which this quality is achieved, is an 18th- century neologism penned by the French economist Turgot. According to ethnologists, who have taken to heart Pope's dictum about the proper study of mankind, certain societies are 'civilised', that is to say, materially advanced, while others are merely 'cultured'. The dichotomy rings false: in Germany, Poland and Russia, 'culture' meaning, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'the refined understanding of the arts and other intellectual achievements' takes social precedence, while in France, Britain and the United States, 'civilisation' which the OED defines as 'an advanced stage or system of social development' is more highly prized. But, pace ethnologists, can there be one without the other?
Independent culture newsletter