Visible Life Histories on Facebook? Biographical Implications of a New Form of Communication

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Roswitha BRECKNER, Sociology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
The use of photographs, especially their distribution and arrangement in photo albums, seems to undergo deep changes brought about by the technological developments of computer, internet, and specifically so-called social media (van Dijck 2007, 2013; Pauwels 2002, 2008). Even though the traditional way to create family photo albums especially for the following generation(s) (Hirsch 2002) is still an usual and for the respective families important social practice (Rose 2010), the question is at stake whether the shift to so-called new media is changing the biographical meaning and relevance of these practices. Furthermore, the specific biographical implications of this kind of communication are still to be understood since it is not obvious in what way they become significant in the long run of a life. Given the fixation of interactions in an ongoing facebook-communication, life histories become visible however, even though they were not intentionally performed as life stories.

My paper wants to introduce a specific combination of visual and narration-based methodologies as in-depth case reconstruction with which we can grasp how facebook-interaction is embedded in biographical processes and vice versa, how images of a biography emerge when looking at and following the stream of communication.