Towards Social Theory based on Biographical Research
Faculty of Social Sciences University of Goettingen Goettingen, Germany
Sozialwesen University of Kassel Kassel, Germany
The subject of this plenary disscussion with Wolfram Fischer is based on the question whether biographical research is capable of creating social theories.
The underlying thesis is that discourses on European societies which has a power to influence a broad discussion about social problems are not based on singular case studies but on research results, which can be generalized in form of social theories. Therefore biographical research that aims to have an impact on broader discussion about European societies shall not ignore the fact, that its research results without being skillfully generalized might not be considered as representative for understanding wide range of social problems and therefore won't influence social policies responding to these problems.
The session aims to give an overview of relation between biographical research and social theory.
The main goals are:
1.to clarify the role of biographical structuring processes for development of social structures
2.to examine biographical descriptions and self-descriptions as a modern times cultural practice to produce meaning or make sense of social reality by expanding restless self-references
3.to exemplify systematic ways of theoretical generalization based on qualitative and biographical research results in particular