Seminário Biographical research at the crossroads of human and social sciences


7 de fevereiro de 2013, 16h00-18h00, Sala 2, CES-Coimbra



Without claiming exhaustivity, this contribution aims at situating « life stories » (writing about oneself, autobiographical documents) within the field of the human and social sciences through some historical referential points and some disciplinary orientations.

 Born during the age of Enlightment in relation with the notion of historicity, the « scientific » interest for life history is expanding more specifically in the works of Wilhelm Dilthey who turns biographical comprehensibility into the understanding model of the spiritual sciences (Geisteswissenschaften) (1883). This epistemological and methodological foundation is at the origin of the first developments of the German sociology (Weber, Simmel), before inspiring the works of the American qualitative sociology (Chicago School) and European sociology afterwards (biographical approach and method of life stories from the seventies onwards). At the same period, the appeal to life stories within the field of education appears as a way for the subject to gain access to his own historicity and to empower him in his own education.

The present contribution gives an account of the developing trend of the « biographical research » that aims specifically at exploring the processes involved in the construction of the individuals within the social space.


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