Review Essay: The Life Story as a "Rocket Flare" by Daniel Bertaux: On Methodological Blind Spots and Materialistic Potentials

Lisa Janotta


In this essay I discuss the integration of the book "The Life Story" by Daniel BERTAUX into the German based tradition of biographical research.  I will present the core concepts of his ethnosociological approach and further criticize some of his central terms (e.g., "objectivity" and "social worlds").  I refer to the tradition of symbolic interactionism, especially the theory by SCHÜTZE and, further, the approaches of APITZSCH, INOWLOCKI, and ROSENTHAL. BERTAUX's interconnection of life stories and social words will be discussed in reference to WILDHAGEN and DETKA. I conclude that—due to methodological vacancies in BERTAUX's text—it is not easy to relate "The life story" to the well-elaborated German tradition of biographical research. But at the same time the book can be enlightening for readers who are interested in materialistic questions.


ethnography; biography; life story; objectivity; social worlds


Copyright (c) 2019 Lisa Janotta

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