1st Edition

Biographical Research Challenges and Creativity

Edited By Ana Caetano, Magda Nico Copyright 2022
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    Studying people’s lives requires acknowledging the multiple entanglements between individual singularity and processes of social patterning. This book testifies how challenging and creative the study of these connections can be. It gathers international contributions that show, in imaginative ways, how a person’s life or specific domains of existence can be observed, tackled, and analysed across time.

    This volume reveals the potential of biographical research in the production of social theory, in the development of methodological innovation, in giving voice and protagonism to people, and in the understanding of the social unfolding of their lives. It is a testimony of a vibrant and youthful field, with a long tradition in social sciences, and with numerous connections with other study areas, namely the life course approach. The different chapters illustrate how the challenges posed by this type of research focused on the individual level of analysis are particular and what creative responses are required to continue analysing the link between biography and society.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal Contemporary Social Science.

    Ken Plummer 
    1. Forever young: creative responses to challenging issues in biographical research 
    Ana Caetano and Magda Nico 
    Part 1: The Production of Social Theory Through and Beyond the Biography’s Singularity 
    2. Sociological biography and socialisation process: a dispositionalist-contextualist conception 
    Bernard Lahire 
    3. Tapping and assessing the concept of educational regret: methodological techniques for opening up biographical reflection 
    Pamela Aronson and Matthew Fleming 
    4. Subjects analysing subjects in the biographical approach: a generational study of Chilean musicians 
    Camila Moyano Dávila and Francisca Ortiz Ruiz 
    Part 2: Methodological Rivalries, Affairs and Openness 
    5. Using reflexive lifelines in biographical interviews to aid the collection, visualisation and analysis of resilience 
    Jane Gray and Jennifer Dag 
    6. Self-administered event history calendars: a possibility for surveys? 
    Davide Morselli, Jean-Marie Le Goff and Jacques-Antoine Gauthier 
    7. There is more than one way – a study of mixed analytical methods in biographical narrative research 
    Marta Eichsteller 
    Part 3: Giving the Floor, Sharing Voices, Creating Harmonies 
    8. Creative biographical responses to epistemological and methodological challenges in generating a deaf life story telling instrument 
    Goedele A. M. De Clerck 
    9. Migrants’ lives matter: biographical research, recognition and social participation 
    Elsa Lechner 
    10. Facilitating the voice of disabled women: the biographic narrative interpretive method (BNIM) in action 
    Christine Peta, Tom Wengraf and Judith McKenzie 
    Part 4: The Social Unfolding of Individual Lives 
    11. Searching for pearls: ‘Doing’ biographical research on Pearl Jephcott 
    John Goodwin 
    12. A moment of biographical analysis under the microscope: reading Felipe’s autobiographical narrative 
    Me-Linh Hannah Riemann 


    Ana Caetano is Researcher at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology (CIES-Iscte) and Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Research Methods at Iscte-University Institute of Lisbon. She has been developing biographical research to study personal reflexivity, biographical crises and triangulation.

    Magda Nico is Sociologist, Researcher at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology (CIES-Iscte), and Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Research Methods at Iscte-University Institute of Lisbon. She is interested in life course theory and methods and longitudinal research.