Auto/Biography – Bringing in the „I“

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Poststructuralist, feminist, queer, postcolonial theory, critical race and diaspora studies have all taken issue with the assumptions of value neutrality and objectivity of mainstream science and demonstrated that scientific knowledge is never disinterested and universally valid, but always embodied and embedded in the context in which it is produced. This epistemological position has immediate consequences for how we acknowledge our involvement in producing situated knowledge – in other words, how we bring in the ‘I’ in the research we do. In this chapter, I will take a closer look at some of the ways to bring in the ‘I’ in academic writing. As a case in point, I will explore three strategies for doing this – autobiography, reflexivity, and the politics of location. Drawing upon a recent example from my own research, I show how bringing in the ‘I’ not only allows us to produce knowledge which is more accessible to our readers, but also knowledge which is more accountable and critically relevant. I will reflect on both the possibilities as well as some of the problems and dangers of using autobiographical material in critical sociological research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbuch Biographieforschung
EditorsHelma Lutz, Martina Schiebel, Elisabeth Tuider
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-3-658-18170-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • feminist epistemology; insider/outsider problem; intellectual biography; accountability; narcissism


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