Review Essay: Chances and Obstacles of an "Understanding Explaining" Illustrated by Linguistic and Cultural Studies' Approaches to Auto-/Biographies


  • Una Dirks University of Hildesheim



standards of social studies, cultural studies, cultural turn, hybridity, approach of an understanding explaining, Max Weber, structural models of middle-range theories, language acquisition, inter-/intracultural contact situations, pragmalinguistics, hist


Rita FRANCESCHINI has edited a book that deals with various elements of auto-/biographical and multicultural studies. Most of the authors' arguments draw on linguistic, literary and ethnological approaches. In several chapters attempts are made to exemplify the interdependencies between biography and culture, specifically between individual and collective constructions of reality. In addition, various chapters focus on biographical structural effects resulting from speakers' experience with foreign language challenges in bilingual or even trilingual contact situations. The review of the volume is framed by a cultural heuristic of an understanding explaining concept (Max WEBER); the reviewer's criticism is supported by qualitative standards of socio-pragmalinguistic and textlinguistic work. From this point of view evidence is provided that explains why literary studies' approaches tend to employ individual sampling procedures as well as other default procedures in gaining methodically controlled insights into properties and dimensions at issue. The linguistic contributions are discussed at length because of their efforts to connect micro- and macro-theoretical perspectives to each other, as such efforts are viewed as building blocks of a cultural studies' approach to research on (language) biographies. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs040132


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Author Biography

Una Dirks, University of Hildesheim

Una DIRKS, geb. 1961, ist Universitätsprofessorin für Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft (Anglistik/Amerikanistik) mit den Arbeitsschwerpunkten: Kulturwissenschaftliche Bildungs-, Kommunikations- und Konfliktforschung. Studium der Anglistik, Romanistik, Sport- und Erziehungswissenschaft an den Universitäten Kiel, Heidelberg, Montpellier und Marburg. 1. und 2. Staatsexamen, Dissertation (Dr. phil.) zum Rüstungsdiskurs in der internationalen Presse (Philipps-Universität Marburg, 1991), wissenschaftliche Assistentin (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, 1993-1999), Habilitation im Bereich der Biographie- und Professionsforschung (Otto-v.-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, 1998), seit 1999 Professorin an der Universität Hildesheim.



How to Cite

Dirks, U. (2004). Review Essay: Chances and Obstacles of an "Understanding Explaining" Illustrated by Linguistic and Cultural Studies’ Approaches to Auto-/Biographies. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(1).



Body / Culture / Identity