Review: Dirk Michel (2009). Politisierung und Biographie. Politische Einstellungen deutscher Zionisten und Holocaustüberlebender [Political Socialization and Biography: German Zionists and Holocaust Survivors and Their Political Attitudes]
How do extraordinary experiences, especially during childhood and adolescence, affect political attitudes? Most studies focusing on political movements only implicitly address the connection between biographical experiences and political attitudes. Moreover, a detailed understanding of these impacts often remains merely hypothetical. Biographical studies increasingly address the relationship between politics and biography through empirical and hermeneutic approaches. For his doctoral thesis, Dirk MICHEL conducts autobiographical narrative interviews with 20 Jewish Israelis. Based on their extraordinary biographical experiences, MICHEL categorized the interviewees into two groups—the "German Zionists" and the "German Holocaust survivors." He then conducts semi-structured interviews with each of the participants with the aim of analyzing their political attitudes. However, the conceptual categorization of the interviewees, the empirical investigation of the research question and the subsequent analysis all challenge the underpinning theoretical and methodological concepts of the study.