2009 | 1(142) | 62-84
Article title

THE USE OF MEMOIR METHOD IN POLISH RURAL SOCIOLOGY - ANTHROPOLOGICAL APPROACH (Metoda pamietnikarska w polskiej socjologii wsi - ujecie antropologiczne)

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The paper discusses theoretical and methodological problems connected with the use of personal documents in Polish rural sociology in the first half of the 20th century basing on the example of works of William Thomas, Florian Znaniecki, Józef Chalasinski, Ludwik Krzywicki and Wladyslaw Grabski as well as critical analyses of their concepts in past and present considerations. The second part of the paper is devoted to the dispute over the use of 'biographical method' in sociology, common for discussions on the essence of 'explanation' and 'understanding' - two opposed concepts for getting to know the social world. Next, the dispute between 'explanation' and 'understanding' is discussed from anthropological perspective and a justification for such approach to the problem is provided. In the third part of the text possibilities for applying an analysis of memoirs, called an 'anthropological approach to autobiography', is presented. Such analysis, drawing on the achievements of social-cultural anthropology, differs from the hitherto used analyses. This approach is based on special treatment of notions in anthropology - as specific 'analytical tools'. For by developing a reticule of notions it is possible to create a universal methodology preceding empirical material. The proposed perspective permits to combine elements of 'explanation' and 'understanding' within the framework of a single analytical perspective consisting in the dissociation of research method from a definite theory. Problems connected with historical character of autobiographical materials have been discussed with the use of micro-historical approach, proposed by researchers representing the direction of the so-called new cultural history.
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  • Kinga Pawlowska, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Socjologii, Zaklad Wsi i Miasta, ul. Karowa 18, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
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