Project objective 6: Guides to biography work

Biographical reconstruction and biography work have gained importance in educational work in recent years. They focus on the life story of the individual person: their experiences and all they lived through are highlighted for a shorter or longer period of time. They can make people aware of the appreciation that society does not or has not sufficiently provided and draw attention to the fact that the life and fate of the individual have a value of their own. Biography work can lead to a better understanding by the social environment and to a higher acceptance and recognition of a person. But it also enables self-knowledge and opens new ways of self-thematization, strengthens self-confidence and self-esteem, and promotes the development of previously neglected or deferred preferences and interests. It is about recognizing the "red thread" of one's own life.

Biography work fulfils three tasks and thereby casts a glance at the past as well as at the present and future: Through the awareness of the past, the view can open up for the future. Looking back, life experiences are structured and meaning is attributed to them. External and self-determined structures become clear, which are otherwise only seldom perceived. Biography work is work on and with the traces of people's lives. It is not so much about the objective reality of a life course, but about subjective remembering and narrating. For this reason, biographical reconstructions and biography work always remain fragmentary to a certain degree. The narrators themselves decide what they reveal and how they interpret or want to have their lives interpreted. Therefore, neither contradiction nor correction is necessary.

The different ages and fields of experience can contribute to reconciliation with foreign worlds and mutual recognition of personal experiences and competencies. In this respect, biography work is holistic: it contains the individual level (life history, experiences, incidents, experiences, depth psychological interpretations) and the societal level (social structures, social events that condition life chances and influence biography). Biographical reconstructions and biographical work are oriented towards the lifeworld of people with intellectual impairments and behavioural disorders and are designed to explore their specific problems and interests. In this sense, they can also be understood as a methodology of life-world analysis. Biography work is thus at the same time work on and with temporal changes. It shows possibilities of linking up with stories, preferences and interests in order to create alternative courses of action based on them and to enable more participation.



© Lebenshilfe für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung Bremen e.V., Illustrator Stefan Albers


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