When "We Ourselves" Become Our Own Field of Research

  • Gert Dressel IFF Wien
  • Nikola Langreiter Universität Wien
Keywords: reflexivity, historical anthropology, cultural research, studies of humanities and social sciences, biographical research, experience, intervention


In our current research project, we do cultural research on cultural research. In doing so we apply cultural research-instruments to ourselves and thereby constitute ourselves as a field of research. We describe some of the incidents that can occur in such an ambivalent situation, focussing on the following (which appears to us as the most significant output of our work in this special context of research so far): This kind of research will always be a sensitive one when dealing with biographical material. Since one has to deal with humans, "naturally" relationships develop along the way. Neither the social status of the persons explored, nor closeness or distance to them should affect the results or the degree of responsibility felt towards to them. The representations resulting from this research ought to be salient to all participants, including the researcher and the researched. Research is an interaction—this assertion implies for us that we do not want to study sciences for the purpose of science studies, even if we (would) like to put our work into these discourses. It is important to us to transmit our research into our everyday academic life, put our findings into action—in teamwork, in teaching, in organisation and communication of research. These interactions also have a reflexive effect on our research project—they draw our attention to certain topics, help us set priorities and make us aware of taboos. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0302276


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Author Biographies

Gert Dressel, IFF Wien
Gert DRESSEL, born in 1964, historian, "voluntary" head of the Section Historical Anthropology at IFF, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at Austrian Universities in Vienna. Until February 2003, a full time employee in the research project Self-Reflective Historical Anthropology.
Nikola Langreiter, Universität Wien
Nikola LANGREITER, born in 1970, studied European ethnology and communication science, works as a freelance for the most part, inter alia at the Section Historical Anthropology at IFF Vienna. Until February 2003, employee in the research project Self-Reflective Historical Anthropology.