Subjectivation Analysis in Discourse Research – an Interpretative Approach

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 13:14
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sasa BOSANCIC, University of Augsburg, Germany
Many empirical studies of human subjectivities focused on the self, identities or biographies which are entangled in local milieus like specific neighborhoods, families, youth or deviant cultures, organizations like hospitals, factories, schools and so forth. In doing so, these studies implicitly stick to an ‘ecological perspective’ (Vankatesh) which is originated in the Chicago School. The assumption behind this kind of research is that researchers just have to intertwine deeply into the institutional and organizational contexts of the groups or individuals they are studying. Researchers have to observe and talk to all the relevant persons and at the end they will get an appropriate insight on how the subjectivities in this specific field are constituted.

Clarke does not criticize this ways of gathering data, on the contrary, she applauds the developments in qualitative research like auto-ethnography. Nevertheless, regarding the emergence of a ‘society of spectacle’, and considering the global distribution of new media and people ‘floating’ (Vankatesh) in and around cities all over the world, it becomes clear, that self-relations are no longer only bound to local ‘ecologies’. In this respect one has to take into account that “we and the people and things we choose to study are all routinely both producing and awash in seas of discourses” (Clarke 2005: 145). This paper proposes a methodological grounding for the empirical research on the discursive situatedness of the self. For this I have developed a concept of subjectivation that is located in a Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse and which considers the poststructuralist assumptions of the ‘decentered subject’ as well as Mead’s, Goffman’s and other’s theories of identities. Finally I argue that an understanding of subjectivation as a ‘sensitizing concept’ (Blumer) establishes a broader perspective on human subjectivities in a globalized world.