Review: Walburga Freitag (2005). Contergan. Eine genealogische Studie des Zusammenhangs wissenschaftlicher Diskurse und biographischer Erfahrungen [Contergan. A Genealogical Study on Scientific Discourse and Biography]

Anne Klein


In this genealogical study, Walburga FREITAG explores the conditions of subjectivity-building in relation to the powerful medical discourse on Contergan. The discourse theory of Michel FOUCAULT dominates the key words for the empirical research: discourse, knowledge, power and body. The study aims to describe a transformation process, starting as a "knowledge object" and ending as a "knowledge subject." Methodologically based on grounded theory, the study consists of two discourse-analytical reconstructions: one concerning the scientific foundations of inclusion and exclusion, and the other dealing with the personal experience of discrimination and emancipation. By juxtaposing the medical opinion and the biographical "true" knowledge Walburga FREITAG succeeds in drawing a picture of the moral grammar and the historical-political meaning of this social conflict. The connection of discourse analysis and biographical narratives is not only methodologically innovative but also produces new knowledge concerning the discursive relation of society, subjectivity and science.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0602150


discourse analysis; history; biography; disability studies; grounded theory; social movements


Copyright (c) 2006 Anne Klein

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