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Consider the relation between the personal and the social through an auto/biographical account analysed with reference to relevant literature in the social sciences and including some aspect of the information in the attachment

Within this essay I aim to explore a number of issues central to writing autobiographical or biographical narratives in relation to the self and society, and the relationship between the two. In order for this essay to explore these issues it is important to firstly outline what is meant by autobiography and biography. I will then briefly outline what is meant by 'the personal' and 'the social' and then the relationship between the two is going to be explored throughout this essay. I will then outline which type of narrative (autobiography or biography) I have chosen and outline the case study I have chosen to explore. This essay will then go on to briefly outline the methods chosen for gathering this data. Finally, before concluding this essay, I am going to critically engage with three types of social categories: gender, sexuality and class, in relation to the dialogues I will outline. Within this critical engagement it is important to note that I have decided to use the interweaving method of auto/biographical writing (A+B+A+B+A+B) where primary data and secondary data will develop a thesis and antithesis of knowledge and exploration.

The primary, and essentialist, difference between an autobiography and a biography is that the former is about yourself (narrated and written by you) and the latter is about someone else (narrated by this other person but not written by them).

In conclusion, this essay has considered the relationship between the personal and the social through a biographical account (of my friend Dina) and has been explored and analysed with reference to appropriate theories and literature from the social sciences. In doing this I feel that this essay has been successful in producing a thesis and antithesis approach to primary knowledge and secondary data. The primary success of this dialogue was due to the research method used (semi-structured interview), as well as engagement with the literature.  

This essay has also explored three main issues, gender, sexuality and class, within a biography from a personal and social perspective. This essay has successfully narrated segments of a biography (from carrying out an appropriate methodology and data collection techniques) and intertwined them with relevant literature and critical engagement. From a personal view, however, I feel that I have benefited greatly from carrying out primary research then being able to synthesise the results with literature and critical engagement. If I had have engaged with this research from a different perspective and carried out an autobiography I feel that the results would have been a lot different due to the problems of objectifying the subject, especially when that subject is yourself. The benefits of biographical writing are numerous but I shall outline two of the most important ones below. Firstly, being able to engage with primary research and relate theory and practice is important within all areas of academic disciplines. Secondly, engaging with someone else's biography allows you to be objective (to a certain extent) and therefore much more able to write about the narration. The limitations of biographical writing are that as you are not that person it is difficult to truly understand their meanings and usage of the social discourses they ascribe to or the personal self they view. Secondly, it is also impossible.

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