Ego documents?

Ego documents?

A very interesting online seminar was given on Wednesday by Maria Tamboukou concerning numbers and narratives, and her research on the lives and careers of some women mathematicians. Many interesting points were raised and something that occurred in passing early in the presentation was the description of the documents she is working with as ego documents. This term is widely used in some parts of the world, but seems a bit misleading because it assumes that these documents – diaries, letters, memoirs, autobiography and so on – are centrally about concerns with self. The examples used seem however much more about other and its relationship with self, with the profound sociality of social interaction, rather than with self. My favourite example of a letter from WWW research expresses this, and is, I send you a pig’s head, please send me one cart load of corrugated iron. Put in more conventional terms, letters are predicated upon dialogical exchanges. Sociality is not a matter of self, but relationship; and while relationships can of course be one-sided, they still involve relationship with another.

Last updated: 28 April 2023


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Last updated: 21 April 2023


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