Biography and Politics: Academic Concepts and Empirical Encounters. Introductory Reflections on the Special Issue

Michaela Köttig, Christine Müller-Botsch, Martina Schiebel


In the analysis of historical and current political phenomena, the potential for the use of social theories of knowledge and theories based on interactional and biographical perspectives have not received much attention. This article introduces the topic "Biography and Politics" which was the result of a workshop held in Berlin in 2009. It includes the discussion of political action as biographically contextualized action: Within which societal and biographical contexts does political action take place? To what extent do political activities represent forms of coping with specific biographical experiences? What consequences do concrete political actions have for further biographical and societal developments?
Based on recent empirical work, this issue contributes to the discussion of the conceptualization of the relationship between political action and biography based on the perspective of biographical theories. In addition, specific features of this field of research will be delineated. The articles from various disciplines concern empirical research projects, making use of various resources with different conceptual considerations and methodological approaches. They permit a discussion of the achievements and limits of analyses based on biographical-theoretical approaches as well as the relationship between politics and biographies.


biographical research; political action in the past and present; political analysis


Copyright (c) 2011 Michaela Köttig, Christine Müller-Botsch, Martina Schiebel

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