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By Franco Ferrarotti

Franco Ferrarotti hopes to guide sociologists clear of overly reductionistic, technical size in their subjects_an strategy that has more and more been problematized through the ordinary sciences_toward a rediscovery of (auto)biographical fabrics and the price of the person.

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Scientific knowledge demands a hermeneutics of this interaction. The biographical account is perceived as social action. The biographical interview seems to me a perfect example of the clinical pole of the human sciences. Every biographical account sends us back to the de- and restructuring of an act or individual history viewed as the horizontal or vertical section of a social system. This consequently gives us: a) A totalizing image of a social system, from the social space wherein sociality is sketched out, and where social action is analyzed (history of a life, description of an action); b) A totalization under way (a biographical account) as the active synthesis of the totalizing image and the interaction present where it is situated.

1° NOTES 1. Stendhal, Filosofia nova, Turin: Beringhieri 1961, pp. 28-29 (my emphasis). 2. Cf. E. H. Erikson, Life History and the Historical Moment, New York: Norton, 1975. 3. See chapter 4 (”Sociology between Biography and History”) in my Max Weber and the Destiny of Reason, tran. : Sharpe, 1982. 4. Cf. H. D. : Free Press, 1951, p. 9. 5. Cf. E. Castelli, L’esperienza comune, Milan, 1942, p. 13. 6. For a critical analysis of this point, see F. Balbo, L’uno senza miti, Rome: Einaudi, 1945; and Laboratorio dell’uomo, Turin: Einaudi, 1948.

Dolci and R. Scotellaro, the biographies collected by N. Revelli, in I1 mondo dei vinti, Turin: Einaudi, 1977 (whose extraordinary character is not greatly damaged by not being placed sufficiently in context), should be referred to. 10. F. Ferrarotti, Traffafodi sociologia, p. 387. 11. See Ferrarotti, La sociologia come parfecipazione e alfri saggi, Turin: Taylor, 1961, and An Alternative Sociology, ed. J. W. Freiburg, trans. P. and B. Columbaro, New York Irvington Publishers, 1979. 12. For a panoramic review of Polish sociological studies based on life histories, see J.

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