Challenges of Biographical Research

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 18:15
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Gabriele ROSENTHAL, Center of Methods in Social Sciences, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
What have been the challenges faced by biographical research in the past decades? In my paper, I will not only discuss different methodological and theoretical, but also practical challenges. Additionally, I will pursue the question in how far biographical research is able to contribute to people’s struggles for a better world. In which ways are we able – through our research – to empower the almost powerless outsiders in our interconnected “world society”? My contribution will be based on an ongoing research about illegalized migrants in Europe who come from Syria and the sub-Saharan countries.

 My focus will be on the following challenges:

-       Transnational research: transnational biographies and familial histories

-       International multilingual research

-       Overcoming Eurocentrism (as a form of restricted perspectivity)

-       Developing combinations of methods according to the requirements of the social fields which are investigated

-       Getting insights into the powerlessness of the outsiders in their figurations with established groupings

-       Ambivalence/balance between commitment and objectivity

-       Impact of research on empowering the outsiders