Open and Closed Biographical Politicization

Dirk Michel-Schertges


The article deals with political socialization with particular consideration of open and closed processes of biographical politicization, i.e. biographical alienation. Based on narrative-biographical and theme-oriented interviews with two survivors of the Holocaust, processes of consciousness are analyzed. Henri LEFEBVRE refers in the chapter "the lived and the living" in his third volume of the "Critique of Everyday Live" (1975) to the complexity of processes of consciousness. According to LEFEBVRE there is a dialectic between the "lived" and the "living", thus the "lived" cannot be characterized only as past actions but as past experiences, constituting dialectically the present—the "living." For LEFEBVRE there is an inescapable conflict between past experiences and present life, i.e. the past could be seen as a constituting part of the conditions of individual (and societal) present consciousness. Following this line of thought, one could state that to analyze former biographical (extraordinary) experiences, i.e. "the lived," is crucial to better understanding of the constitutional conditions of processes of political socialization. Thus former extraordinary biographical experiences might have an essential impact on political socialization and, therefore, on political attitudes.


political socialization; autobiographical-narrative interviews; biography, biographical politicization, holocaust; politics

Copyright (c) 2011 Dirk Michel-Schertges

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