Sunday, July 5, 2015

Past Activities

Bildergebnis für ISA RC38
Special Issue 


edited by
Roswitha Breckner (University of Vienna)
Monica Massari (University of Naples Federico II)

During the past twenty years, biographical research, which had significantly declined in post-war sociological inquiry, has gained new visibility and become an established field within scientific social research. This revival has allowed biographical analysis to expand its scope and to move beyond disciplinary borders, while exploring new research perspectives and innovative methods integrating narrative, ethnographic, and discourse approaches. 
The core question of the biographical approach, however, aimed at understanding how changes in society are connected with varying organizations of the self and family, work, life and generational relations, as well as institutional settings, is currently confronted with major issues of globalizing societies and new forms of communication. Different concepts of biography and life story rooted in different societal organizations and cultural traditions of narratives have appeared and started to interact, while new media and visual practices of remembering are significantly changing and/or affecting the ways how we create images of our self and document our biography.

This issue is aimed at exploring the relations existing between social events, historical processes and biographical experiences in the framework of an increasing transnationalization of people’s lives and practices, paying specific attention to the temporal dimension and the differences existing between age groups and generations both in Europe and non-European countries. The editors welcome contributions that address transnational migration from a biographical perspective, especially taking generational relations into account. Migration processes and the experience of migration are embedded in biographical developments, prospects and mostly implicit concepts of one’s own life. Thus the meaning and handling of experiences related to migration evolve in different life spheres and periods of life in various ways and social contexts and can even profoundly change over time. The molding of migration experiences are part of generational relations insofar, as children and grandchildren react or resonate on the experiences of their parents and grandparents, the situations they had gone through in the contexts they left, during their move and also, and especially, in the contexts they arrived or passed as a sojourn. However, the transmission of migration experiences and their biographical implications is not linear. Following generations deal with them in active ways being embedded in their own social positions and contexts. 
Contributors might deal with both empirical and methodological challenges and innovative approaches addressing the biographical as well as generational aspects of migration. Especially visual approaches in combination with biographical and ethnographic methods are highly welcomed. While proposals can address specific cases at national level, cross-country comparisons both at European and international level are encouraged. Among the topics suggested, contributions might focus on:
  • processes of multi-generational transmission within families;
  • gender relations’ changes in migratory processes;
  • biographical challenges in handling different social welfare systems;
  • transnational (visual and narrative) communication using different media;
  • forced migration trajectories compared to transnational work migration and their respective biographical impact;
  • representations of migrants and refugees in public discourses compared to forms of
  • self-narration through images and other visual practices.
Deadlines and guide line
Abstracts are due by December 15, 2017. All abstracts (500 words), with 5 keywords, should be sent as e-mail attachments to: and
Communication from the Editors concerning the selection of articles by January 15, 2018.
Submission of first versions of articles to the editors by April 15, 2018.
Articles – written in English – should follow the journal guidelines.
Communication from the Editors concerning the peer-review process by July 15, 2018.
Revised and language edited versions sent to the Editors by September 15, 2018.
Publication on Issue 1/2019.


International Workshop
Biography and Body
University of Crete, Rethymnon
September 14-16, 2017
Department of Sociology, University of Crete
Greek Association of Oral History
RC 38 Biography and Society, International Sociological Association (ISA)
The international workshop ‘Biography and Body’ focuses on interdisciplinary perspectives in the research field of embodied biographies. While we can observe a “body turn” in the Social Sciences over the last few years, we find that biographical research has not paid much attention to conceptualizing the connections between the body and biographical practices. Oral History researchers have acknowledged for some time now the importance of non-verbal communication and embodied performativity in the interview situation. Yet a specific focus on embodied experiences in life stories is a quite recent trend also in Oral History. In our workshop, we would like to enable a dialogue among the different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives from Sociology, Oral History, Anthropology and Gender Studies. Furthermore, we would like to discuss the methodological challenges that arise from the interview as an embodied encounter between two subjectivities and from investigating embodied experiences by using biographical methods.
A focus on the body seems particularly promising in life history research concerning the fields of migration, work, sexuality, disease, political violence, disabilities, as well as in psychosocial research.
We would like to invite PhD students and other scholars who are working in the research field of embodied biographies to participate in our workshop.
Prof. Dr. Giorgios Tsiolis, University of Crete
Dr. Irini Siouti, University of Vienna
Prof. Dr. Riki van Boeschoten, University of Thessaly
Thursday, September 14, 2017
18:00: Welcome
18:30: Keynote I: Kathy Davis (VU University Amsterdam): "The story of my life is written on my skin": Bringing the body into biographical research
Chair: Irini Siouti (University of Vienna)
21.00: Dinner
Friday, September 15, 2017
10:30-13:00: Working group I: Theoretical perspectives on embodied biographies
Chair: Lena Inowlocki (Frankfurt University)
13:00-14:30: Lunch break
14:30-17:00: Working group II: Biography and body: methodological challenges
Chair: Giorgos Tsiolis (University of Crete)
18:00: Experimental workshop: (Mis)reading body language in the oral history interview
Chair: Riki van Boeschoten (University of Thessaly)
21.00: Dinner
Saturday, September 16, 2017
10:30-16:00: Research working group: Images of bodies in depictions of refugees
Chair: Roswitha Breckner (University of Vienna)
Please register until 25 August 2017 with the organizers (,
Registration is without fees.
Department of Sociology
 University of Crete
University Campus Rethymnon

Program Coordinators
Roswitha Breckner (University of Vienna)
Lena Inowlocki (University of Frankfurt)


The program of RC 38 deals with cutting edge topics such as migration, transnationalism, violence and memory as well as with new directions in methodological approaches in the context of globalization.


10 - 11 March, 2015 VU Amsterdam, Netherlands

Biographies of Belonging



Program Coordinators
Roswitha BRECKNER, University of Vienna, Austria,
Michaela KOETTIG, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany, 



27.- 28. September 2013, Greece, Department of Sociology, University of Crete 

International Workshop
“New Challenges in Transnational Biography Research”

Organizers: Giorgos Tsiolis and Irini Siouti
In cooperation with the RC 38 Biography and Society
International Sociological Association (ISA)