BSA Auto/Biography Study Group Conference

The Auto/Biography Study Group is part of the professional association of sociologists, the British Sociological Association (BSA). The aim of the Study Group is to bring together people interested in looking analytically at all forms of biography and autobiography, the relationship between different ‘genres’ of representing lives, and the intertextuality of biography and autobiography, texts and lives. In addition to  the main summer conference the Study Group also holds a one day conference in December. This year’s theme is ‘Feminism and Lives’ and the conference takes place on 14 December 2010 at the British Library in London.

 I have just submitted the following abstract and am hoping to find out shortly if my paper has been accepted. In the meantime (as always!) I would be very interested to hear your thoughts… 


Challenging regimes of truth: a feminist perspective on the narrative study of women’s lives
Twenty years ago, as the crisis of representation was first stalking the corridors of the social sciences, Stanley asked whether there was such a thing as a feminist auto/biography. As a feminist engaged in sociological biography, this is a question I am still struggling to answer in and through the process of narrative inquiry. Given its potential to illuminate lives hitherto hidden or silenced, narrative has found favour with many feminist scholars, and in this paper I explore both the spaces where narrative and feminism happily co-exist, and those where tensions emerge, drawing on my own work with female teachers in Yemen over the last decade to illustrate.  


  • Richard Fay

    Indeed ….

  • Tanya Halldórsdóttir

    Well I was hoping to get several papers accepted for QI 2011, so I’m planning to submit this as my ‘first’ – which is in keeping with the feminist-positioned papers I’ve given previously. The strapline for QI 2011 is the ‘Politics of advocacy’…they’ll like the ‘challenging regimes of truth’ bit, and I will reword it slightly to include Lather for example (a key figure in QI) and maybe replace a few of the sociological buzz words with autoethnographic ones. It’s an issue I definitely need to explore in my thesis, for I have come to realize that narrative per se is not automatically empowering or ‘good’ and as I champion it, I must also be aware of the ways in which it can be (and indeed so often is!) used to strengthen and re-inscribe dominant and discriminatory paradigms, whilst masquerading as liberatory…

  • Richard Fay

    A shame about the outcome – where will you take it instead?