ABS049 - The dialectics of the abstract and the concrete in A. R. Luria’s ‘romantic science’

2.6 Dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge
Poster in a Structured Poster Session (SPS)
Wednesday Aug 30   05:00 PM to 06:00 PM (1 hour)
In recent decades there has been a growth in the area of academic life story work. This work is itself part of a more general ‘narrative turn’ in social science. Around 1960, A.R. Luria produced two works which were recognisably ‘life stories’. Luria described his ‘Mind of a Mnemonist’ and ‘The Man with a Shattered World’ as examples of ‘romantic science’. Jerome Bruner and Oliver Sacks enthusiastically welcomed the publication of Luria’s ‘romantic science’ both believed that these works represented the emergence of a ‘new literary genre’. Luria’s romantic science might be seen as a contributory, though distinct, part of the wider ‘narrative turn’ in social science. It is argued here that ‘romantic science’ itself should be viewed as a particular response to the problem of how to ‘ascend from the abstract to the concrete’ in social science allowing the ‘lifeworld’ to be used as a unit of analysis. In contrast to a great part of the overall ‘narrative turn’ Luria’s ‘romantic science’ is highly successful both scientifically and narratively. Luria’s work indicates the great potential of life story work as an academic endeavour.
Canterbury Christ Church University

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