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ISEK - Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies Social and Cultural Anthropology

Biography and Ethnography

Biographie und Ethnographie


When considering the objectives of anthropology (or social anthropology), we ask ourselves: to what extent is researching a social formation (ethnos) embedded in more fundamental questions about what it means to be human (anthropos)? To what extent can investigating the history of individual people and the foundation of their corresponding social positions help us to get a better understanding of the relationship between anthropos and ethnos?

Within the framework of our discussions on these questions, we aim to employ biographical research as a methodologically complementary approach to ethnography. On the basis of long field research the latter brings into focus everyday practices and routines within social formations. The former complements ethnography by reconstructing the life history of individual positions on the basis of biographical narratives.