Aftermath. A Scientist's Narratives on Self and Presence


  • Iris Rittenhofer Aarhus University



gender, ethnicity, history, the experienced, time, emigration, scientist, transcript, cultural interviewing, parallel category


This article deals with reflections on the relations between my long-term academic employment in a second country and my scientific work. I also draw on selected reflections of emigrated scientists, whom I interviewed for a recent project. In the beginning, I understood what I researched and experienced to be a consequence of my long-term employment in a foreign country. My attempt is to illustrate and to analyze the reflections on the processes concerning two completed projects. How did what I researched and experienced work hand in hand in changing my perspective? This leads to the central problem to be discussed in this contribution: The question at stake is not that of the character and the consequences of a long-term stay abroad. Rather, the question at stake is what it is that is narrated as a stay in a foreign country, and what therefore would turn into the source of my scientific work, which in turn would have come into existence as a consequence of the stay abroad. However, if culturally conditioned perception becomes the basis for what I experienced, the critical question will be, what is it that is narrated with a stay abroad? The processes of those reflections both led to a change of problem, and had consequences for a recent project. The result of those reflections is the development of an interview method labeled with the term cultural interviewing, a technique that is discussed in the second part of this article. In the first part, the term parallel category is introduced as central for these developments. Parallel category means that identical differences can be embodied in, for instance, time in engendering and in subjectivizing categories. In this sense, the categories of gender, subject and time are comparable within a respective context. In the illustration and in the discussion of those reflection processes, I attempt to reproduce developments, which did not happen on a linear time scale, leading me to organize this contribution in a thematic order. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0203171


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Author Biography

Iris Rittenhofer, Aarhus University

Iris RITTENHOFER is currently an associate research professor [forskningslektor] at the Institute of History and Area Studies (IHO), Department for European and for Gender Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. She studied history, philosophy and German language and literature studies at the University of Heidelberg, at the University of Masachussetts at Amherst, and at the University of Bielefeld. 1991 MA, University of Bielefeld, Germany. Migration to Denmark. 1992 one year supplementary education in gender studies at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. 1994 research fellowship at FREIA; University of Aalborg, Denmark. 1995 birth of a daughter. 1999 Ph.D., University of Aalborg. 1998-2000 research project: The magnet gender. A cultural analysis of Danish research politics 1970-1990. VCL, Aalborg University. 2000 birth of a daughter. Iris RITTENHOFER currently works on a project with the working title: Cultures of imagined communities: Ethnicities, gender and universities (2001-2003).



How to Cite

Rittenhofer, I. (2002). Aftermath. A Scientist’s Narratives on Self and Presence. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 3(3).