Life Histories and Archival Research in the Social Sciences

Paper presented at the Conference: ‘Social Sciences Today: Dilemmas and visions beyond the Crisis’, University of the Aegean, June 19-21, 2019.



This paper draws on a Leverhulme funded research project which interrogates nomadism in feminist theories and politics, The research revolves around migrant and refugee women’s life histories about the experience of travelling without the company of adult men. What I argue is that life histories support interdisciplinary analyses, open up different levels of analysis and are linked to political approaches. They also raise crucial questions about the force of listening, the catalytic role of mnemonic discourses and practices, as well as the importance of creating archives for future research. In this context I am interested in the way refugee and migrant women weave their stories and leave traces of their agonies, dreams and struggles. What I argue is that there are strong relations between narrative and archival research, particularly in the era of the digital revolution that has radically changed traditional perceptions, approaches and practices in the epistemologies and methodologies of the human sciences.