No 3 (2014)

Multiple Biographies, Transcultural Experience

Cover Page

Editor-in-Charge of the issue [Redaktor Prowadzący] 3/2014: Maciej Falski

Complete list of reviewers for the issue 3 [Lista recenzentów numeru 3]


The proposal to distinguish the liminal phase as a research topic turns out to be extremely inspiring in studies of biography at every interface of cultures, from the Balkans through the Finnish-Norwegian, Kazach-Soviet, to the Jewish or Gypsy multi-level identity. Because the liminal phase, as a passage between worlds, creates, at the same time, an offer of ready scenarios of behaviour, aiding individuals in their choices between competing interests. It would also seem that the borderland of culture creates a specifically Turner-like semantic structure in a state of permanent tension between opposing poles of meanings. The borderlands of culture appear to be inexhaustible producers of biographies that are rooted on many planes and have various, sometimes opposing points of reference. In this third issue of “Colloquia Humanistica” both the individuals and described communities are interesting, as are the clear, well-defined contexts. We are convinced that its perusal will be a satisfying experience for our readers.

Jolanta Sujecka, Introductory comments

The term “transcultural experience” reflects most accurately the idea of the main theme. It does not suggest any rigid cultural entity, as in the case of the term “transculturality,” but points towards the experienced and contextual aspect of cultural reality. Transcultural experience can appear on different levels of the description of culture and in various places. It is not limited to simple contact between two “cultures.” By speaking of experiencing transculturality, we wish to take the stance that culture should be viewed as a kind of continuum, where one can talk about the extent and intensity of influence, but not rigid borders; where various factors must be taken into account, if the situation is to be analyzed correctly, and where one should not trust unambiguous national or religious narrations, but open oneself up to viewing the world from the perspective of micro phenomena and individual actions. This is the reason behind adding the phrase “multiple biographies” as a specification of the main topic. It is precisely a life story read as a cultural text that unveils various dimensions of participating in a culture – or cultures – most fully. An individual makes choices, but is also induced to make them; some actions are performed consciously, and others result from activated potentialities of a habitus. The description proposed here is never limited to a psychological view, but sees man in a social dimension, thus the studies of varied life stories will take the socioanalytic approach. We hope that the texts being offered to the reader demonstrate the fruitfulness of this approach and induce some to take up further studies in this vein.

Maciej Falski, Transcultural experience and multiple biography as a research topic