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    STUDIA SOCIOLOGIA - Issue no. 2 / 2009  

Authors:  IMRE PÁSZKA.
  Abstract:   This study follows a double aim, relying on Dimitrie Gusti’s autobiography. The first is to reveal his path of life, focusing on his social networks, the university world of a Wilhelmian era, and to reconstruct the memories about his professors. The second purpose is to reveal how Gusti himself thought about that era, what was his understanding of it, what kinds of impressions, experiences did he retain from those years. Did he realize that, during his university years, modern science was about to change in epochal and paradigmatic ways? We look at Gusti’s biography as being divided into three narrative episodes: the beginnings at Berlin, the continuation of his academic career at Leipzig, and the final period at Berlin. The attempt to construct Gusti’s narrative life history is rather difficult, given that in his autobiography most episodes are not based on his own personal recollections or recalled reflections, but they derive from second-hand sources. The reason is that during the era of his studies, the contact with his epoch-making professors was mostly formal. His memories of Simmel’s rhetoric and his sociology indicate that, because of Gusti’s social background, Simmel’s syllabus of sociology was not relevant for him, since his conceptualizations were not applicable in the rural atmosphere where Gusti was born, where a nation was just at the beginning of the modernization process. In Gusti’s autobiography, the narrative is subjective and intentional, self-representative to affirm personal identity and legitimacy, with pedagogic and narcissistic purposes. In spite of the fact that the term “auto-sociology” was created by Gusti, his actual autobiography covers only the first 25 years of his life. Therefore I tried to reconstruct his biography not solely based on self-representations, but also on external accounts on the social history of the era and some “additives” about the characteristics of the social milieu.

Key words: Monographic Sociological School in Bucharest, autobiography, life narrative, Völkerpsychologie
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