On Relevance, Experience and Knowledge: A Schutzian Perspective to Biographical Research

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Hermilio SANTOS, Pontifcal Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
This presentation aims to discuss the main contribution of the sociology of Alfred Schutz for the interpretative biographical research. Schutz handles with biography at least in two different ways: as a manner to investigate the “because” motives for ones action and as a way to exemplify his theoretical considerations. The first step will be to discuss the biographical experience as a key aspect to understand the motivation for action. It will be argued that for Schutz, biography is not exclusively an individual life’ trajectory, but results of both individual and social experiences, synthesized on the individual relevance systems, which are embedded by the relevance systems of the community in which one has been socialized. In the second step the paper verifies how Schutz deals with his own biographical experiences to discuss theoretical and empirical aspects of his sociology. Examples of the first kind of use of biography by Schutz are, for instance, “The Stranger” and “The Homecomer”, which will be considered in this paper. The third step will be dedicated to establish a dialogue with some of the most influential approaches in the biographical research field, as those proposed by Daniel Bertaux, by Bernard Lahire and by Gabriele Rosenthal, pointing out their advantages and limitations from a Schutzian analytical perspective.