Natalya Veselkova 1
  • 1 Ural Federal University (Russia), 19 Mira str., Ekaterinburg, 620002, Russian Federation

The Biographical Method as a Methodological Tradition in Russia: A Review of Projects and Publications

2021, vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 202–228 [issue contents]
The biographical method in sociology and related disciplines is considered to be firmly rooted in the Western tradition of the first half of the twentieth century (the Chicago School, as well as the Polish memory contests started by F. Znaniecki), while the Russian experience remains largely neglected and unnoticed. The article presents an analytic review of six themes/stages of this movement and their contemporary reception: (1) the N. Rybnikov Institute of Biography, (2) Historical Commissions and Societies, such as Istpart, and others, (3) the Communist Academy, (4) monographic studies and the Central Bureau of Local History, (5) the History of the Civil War and the History of Factories and Plants, Cabinets of Recordings and Memoirs, and (6) the Commission on the History of the Great Patriotic War. All of these initiatives are known to researchers, but so far, they have been studied within the narrow confines of separate disciplines, and almost without regard to the biographical method. A detailed account of these themes in the biographical method context provides us with new optics allowing to reveal the general effects of biographization as the self-reflection of modern society, either with scholarly participation or without it. The review takes into account historical realities and is placed within an interdisciplinary field. The internal continuity is traced in all analyzed projects. Their common features include the articulation of social relevance, the temporal regime, and the organizational specificity of work and its methodological characteristics. The latter are given a detailed account in terms of their relevance to the methodological precepts of contemporary humanities and social sciences.
Citation: Veselkova N. (2021) Biograficheskiy metod kak metodologicheskaya traditsiya v otechestvennoy praktike: obzor proektov i publikatsiy [The Biographical Method as a Methodological Tradition in Russia: A Review of Projects and Publications]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 20, no 1, pp. 202-228 (in Russian)
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