Monday, May 1, 2017

Forthcoming Activities


Program Coordinators:

Roswitha BRECKNER, University of Vienna, Austria,
Lena INOWLOCKI, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany,

The call for abstracts is open from April 25th, 2017 to September 30th, 2017. Only abstracts submitted online can be considered. No deadline extension is possible.

Apart from an Invited Session to which no abstract can be submitted, RC38 offers 16 sessions for abstract submissions. We invite to submit abstracts to the following sessions:

Link to descriptions of sessions hosted and co-organized by RC38 

Link to the electronic system for abstract submission, open until September 30, 2017

Biographical Research: Epistemological and Methodological Foundation, Balance and Perspectives
Biographies in Organizations – Organizations in Biographies
Biographies, Figurations and Discourses in the Global South
Biography and City
Biography and Violence
Biography, Migration and Belonging
Body – Image – Affect
Digital Experiences and Narratives of Networked Activism
Ethnography and Biographical Research
Language Realms and Desires: Biographies, Multilinguality and Power in Society
Research Ethics in Biographical Research
Responses to Violence: From Citizens’ Passivity to Active Help
Using Intersectionality in Biographical Research
Visualizing Power: Epistemological and Theoretical Aspects of Studying Biographies Affected By Violence and Injustice
What Can We Learn from the Classics? Reflections on the 100th Anniversary of the First Publication of the Polish Peasant in Europe and America
‘Doing Memory’ of Violence in Images and Biographical Narrations 


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



  Call for Papers:

Biography and Violence
Violent dynamics and agency in collective processes and individual life histories

International Conference to be held at the Center of Methods in Social Sciences, University of Göttingen, on 9-10 February 2018

In European societies, current media reports on (civil) wars, armed conflicts, terror attacks, illegalized migration, or attacks on migrants show that physical violence and violent phenomena attract great attention, albeit often in a very charged and selective manner.
The high number of studies devoted to violent phenomena and their causes, dynamics and consequences means that today there can be no question of a general neglect of violence in the social sciences any more, at least with regard to empirical research. Much recent research in this field has focused on violence in the narrow sense of the word, meaning the social dynamics organized around physical injury to, and the vulnerability of, social actors. This conference tries to go beyond a normative perspective limited to the study of isolated “causes”, and strives to understand the interactive dynamics of violence that creates and destroys social order. In addition, increased attention is paid to the history and experiences of the actors involved, and their social networks.
Sociologists interested in biographical research, or in other forms of research into everyday life, have explicitly studied contexts structured by violence, such as wars and violent conflicts, migration courses, or domestic violence, and have focused, for example, on the biographical, familial and transgenerational consequences of violent experiences. A biographical research approach must include contextualizing the phenomena under study socio-historically and diachronically. Moreover, an interpretative research approach that focuses on the biographical experiences, perspectives and relevances of the actors in their social fields of action, and, if possible, their historical genesis, frequently leads to the discovery of violent phenomena, which have significantly contributed to structuring the biographical courses of these actors, even without an explicit focus on violence. In other words, researchers commonly find traces of experiences of violence and violent behavior in various biographical fields. A biographical research approach makes it possible to examine the processes that lead to experiences of violence, whether as targets or performers, on both a personal and a collective level.

This interdisciplinary and international conference offers an opportunity for discussion and exchange between scholars engaged in research on violence and those engaged in biographical research, from their different academic perspectives.
We are interested in the following questions: How can biographical research contribute to the systematic inclusion of violence in the development of sociological theories, as called for in recent years by scholars involved in research on violence and violent conflicts? And what perspectives can research on violence contribute to biographical research in the social sciences and sociology?
We therefore invite papers based on empirical research in the following interrelated areas:
  • Reconstruction of processes of the development, continuation and change of (physically) violent behavior, and interpretations of violence, from the perspectives of actors involved in different socio-historical contexts.
  • Reconstruction of interrelations between members of different groupings and individuals in violent situations.
  • Empirical perspectives on violent dynamics in different regions of the world and different social contexts.
  • Figurations of groupings in violent or armed conflicts.
  • Experience of violent conditions as part of everyday life, and as part of an actor’s collective, familial and personal history.
  • Violence in organizational contexts (such as police or army): development, continuation and change of patterns of interpretation and action in connection with armed violence in organizational contexts; practices of organizational violence and their legitimation, and interrelations between biographical and organizational- professional patterns of action.
  • Interdependencies between violence and collective belongings.
  • Opportunities and limits in respect of the thematization of violence in different social contexts (also: in the research context) and in biographical courses.
Please send your paper title and abstract (not exceeding 2300 characters, including authors and affiliations)  to
Deadline: September 1st, 2017.
We especially invite junior researchers and young academics. Travel expenses can be partially covered for contributors of papers or presentations.
  For current information visit our website at: