Involvement with other people’s life stories inevitably involves personal interaction between interviewer and interviewee. The intertwining of at least two stories is evident in the act of empathy, as a consequence of identification with the interviewee during the interview and later when transcribing the interview. The significance of the interviewer’s personal experiences documented in the field diary can later play an important role in the analysis of the text. Moreover, such a diary provides a good insight into the roles we play in the field. By expressing ourselves in diaries, we also recognize ourselves as research subjects. In addition to personal notes and observations about people, field diaries also contain documentary fragments about particular techniques and methods, especially in those extreme situations where research plans are unexpectedly overturned.

The author will illustrate the importance of field diaries and empathy using the example of her own experiences with the Slovenian minority in Austria.


She is a Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at University Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts. She was awarded scientific and research titles by SRC SASA and again the University of Ljubljana.

She is the chair of the Ethical Committee at The Slovene Ethnological Society (2007-) and a member of scientific evaluation committees in Slovenia and Europe (2007-). From 2006 to 2012 she was the chair of the postgraduate study programme of Anthropology of everyday life at ISH, Ljubljana Graduate School for the Humanities.

She is a researcher, postgraduate professor and writer in the fields of ethnology, cultural/social anthropology, folklore, and medical humanities, that transcend current disciplinary practise, with an emphasis on applied research and the use of critical, experimental, and traditional forms of qualitative inquiry in the interest of social justice, dignity, and human rights.

Mojca Ramšak published seven scientific monographs and one scientific corpus in Slovene, English or the Slovak language.

– Tako smo živeli: življenjepisi koroških Slovencev 1–10: stvarno, krajevno, osebno kazalo ter kazalo hišnih imen. Celovec 2002 [That’s how we lived: Life stories of Carinthian Slovenes 1–10: subject index, index of local names, index of personal names and index of house names, Klagenfurt 2002].

– Portret glasov. Raziskave življenjskih zgodb v etnologiji – na primeru koroških Slovencev. Ljubljana 2003 [The Portrait of the Voices: The Research of Life-stories in Ethnology: The Case of Carinthian Slovenes].

– Žrtvovanje resnice. Opoj zmuzljivih diskretnih nediskretnosti. Maribor 2006 [Sacrifice of the Truth: The Spell of Slippery Discreet Indiscretions].

Čast ni balast. Maribor 2011 [Honour is not a burden].

Družbeno-kulturne podobe raka dojk v Sloveniji = Social and cultural imagery of breast cancer in Slovenia. Ljubljana 2007 (two language publication).

Spoločensko-kultúrne reflexie rakoviny prsníika v Slovinsku (translated in Slovene language), Bratislava 2013.

Wine Queens: Understanding the Role of Women in Wine Marketing. Springer International Publishing 2015.

Zdravje in bolezen na Pohorju. Maribor, 2017 (published 2019).

Study material for doctoral study programme Humanities, 3rd degree, Applied medical anthropology, elective course for English speaking students : study year 2017/2018. Ljubljana: AMEU-ISH, Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, 2017.

Študijsko gradivo na doktorskem programu Humanistične znanosti, 3. stopnja pri izbirnem predmetu Aplikativna medicinska antropologija za slovensko govoreče študente : študijsko leto 2017/2018. Ljubljana: AMEU-ISH, Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, 2017.

Študijsko gradivo na doktorskem programu Humanistične znanosti, 3. stopnja pri predmetu Humanistika 1 : študijsko leto 2016/2017. Ljubljana: AMEU-ISH, Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, 2016.

An outline of the GEMMA Master Course in Women’s and Gender Studies : Women’s Life Writing. Ljubljana: ISH Ljubljana Graduate School of the Humanities, 2009.

Primeri vprašalnikov za zbiranje življenjskih zgodb : študijsko gradivo 2 za pripravo seminarske naloge pri modulu Biografija v mikrozgodovinski perspektivi – M 23. Ljubljana: ISH, Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, 2008.

Študijsko gradivo za podiplomski modul Biografija v mikrozgodovinski perspektivi (M 23) v okviru študijskega programa Antropologija vsakdanjega življenja : študijsko leto 2008/2009. Ljubljana: ISH, Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, 2008.

Full bibliography