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Session Overview
RN03_07a_H: Biographical Perspectives on "Otherness": Methods of Research and Analysis
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Lyudmila A. Nurse, Oxford XXI
Location: HA.4.11
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 4.

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Different Data – Different Stories?

Meltem Karadag1, Alexandra Konig2

1Gaziantep University, Turkey; 2Wuppertal University, Germany

Narrative interviews are a well-established way of generating textual biographical

data. They allow us to examine how the self is shaped in socio-biographical processes.

Using formats of textual data other than interviews is also well-known in biographical

research. We are interested in the stories different textual and visual data tell us and

how these data can be combined. In our presentation we will discuss processes of

selfpositioning and self-presenting by using different types of data. Our argumentation is

based on a Turkish-German cooperation project which focuses on work migration from

Turkey to Germany during the 1960s and 1970s. Our presentation focuses on two

cases: two married couples leaving their children with the grandparents in Turkey.

Regarding both exemplary cases, we have different kind of material: (a) artifacts from

the 1970s made in Germany, especially photos presenting family life, (b) artifacts from

the 1970s made by the grandparents, especially tape recordings presenting the life of

the child in Turkey, and (c) biographical interviews with a family member,

approximately 20 years after migration. All material is part of the collection of Domid,

an archive which collects and conserves artifacts from migrants in Germany to

document migration history. Using this material, we will analyze how otherness,

cultural/national belongings and cosmopolitism are addressed in different data types.

And in terms of methodology we will reflect (1) the relevance of a cross-cultural team

in the research process, and the (2) possibilities and limitations of combining different

kinds of data.

Walking Biographies: modulating borders, risk and otherness

Maggie O'Neill

York University, United Kingdom

As a methodology for conducting biographical research walking has much to recommend it, especially when combined with visual and participatory forms of doing research. Walking methods can help articulate the material, phenomenological, lived, embodied and imagined yet transitory sense of lived lives as well as giving priority to walking and thinking as ‘body and image-space’ (Wiegel 1996) as a means for ‘modulating alienation’ as well as ‘that crucial element of engagement of the body and the mind with the world, of knowing the world through the body and the body through the world’ .

This paper shares the findings from a Lev erhulme Trust fellowship that sought, over the course of one year, to consolidate and develop advances in biographical methods using walking and performative methods for doing social research with marginalised groups in times of risk, austerity and uncertainty. Specifically the research fellowship sought to: interrogate walking as a method for conducting research on borders, risk and belonging; conduct walking research with participants to access lived experience and reflections on border places and spaces; advance innovations in biographical methods; as well as reflect on the impact of the collaborative research findings and outputs for various publics.

The presentation shares a series of walks with Europe’s ‘others’ and suggests that through the walks we are able to get in touch with ‘storied lives’ in sensory and corporeal ways that fosters ‘understanding’ and critical reflection. This necessarily involves reflection on ways of knowing and understanding in biographical research and the potential for walking as method as part of the ‘craft’ of the biographical researcher.

Dogma of Memory

Jane Louise Arnfield

Northumbria, United Kingdom

This paper will demonstrate how witness testimony as presented in performance can contribute to furthering knowledge of individuals in a group context as audience/spectators of performance of witness testimony. The first part of this paper will explore and explain how creative expressions or representations of these witness testimony experiences can contribute to resilience and recovery in individuals and groups. Evidence in the form of audience feedback from the performances of The Tin Ring and data analysed will provide examples of how first hand witness testimony, taken from The Tin Ring and delivered to an audience between 2011 and 2016 contribute and impact on the individual (as a spectator) and their personal and universal understanding of the Holocaust. I will focus on the almost one hundred performances in thirteen countries of The Tin Ring (2012). To demonstrate how creative representations of these first hand witness accounts and experiences can contribute in a different ways to both our understanding, and the actual sense of recovery of, an individual whose testimony is utilised in performance. Focusing on the spectators/audience who experience these first-hand accounts through the medium of performance and the creative arts. The focus will be on the therapeutic nature/effects produced through memory arousal and activation for both the testimonial holder and the spectators. The paper will activate an enquiry into how creative performances can be utilised as a mechanism to enable the original source material to reach a wider audience.

Migration-Education and ‚Othering’. Biographical perspectives on ‚Otherness’ in East and West German schools

Asiye Kaya

Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal, Germany

Migration related difference, especially in the field of education, is considered a particularly problematic and overwhelming issue for Germany, a society which considers itself homogenous, so the recent studies. Similar to other societies, particular knowledge of national self has been (re)produced formally and informally in the context of education. In this, the perspectives and experiences of subjects, those considered problematic and ‘othered’ have been neglected in studies on education, didactical school materials, and migration.

Based on biographical interviews conducted with adults, once students of schools of East and West Germany, during our current joint research-project on migration and diversity in East/ West German school books and school book socialization, my paper deals with the following questions: What exactly do migration related students learn about themselves as children of Immigrants (or of non white, non German People) and about their classmates in their school books, and interactions and communications with educators and other students? How does this knowledge gained in schools in both East and West German contexts impact their biographical self-concept and societal positioning? What differences are there between East- and West German experiences? The preliminary findings show that the existing diversity gap in educational settings in both Germanies provoke a gap between migration related, non white and non-German subjects and the perception of (united) Germanness. Based on my biographical research findings with focus on ‘otherness’ I will discuss methods of research and analysis applied in our joint research project.

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