Documents of Life Revisited : Narrative and Biographical Methodology for a 21st Century Critical Humanism book cover
1st Edition

Documents of Life Revisited
Narrative and Biographical Methodology for a 21st Century Critical Humanism

Edited By

Liz Stanley

ISBN 9781138249936
Published October 10, 2016 by Routledge
238 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

The cultural and narrative turn has had a considerable impact upon research in the social sciences as well as in the arts and humanities, with Ken Plummer's Documents of Life constituting a central text in the turn towards to narrative, biographical and qualitative methodologies, challenging and changing the nature of research in sociology and further afield. Bringing together the latest research on auto/biographical and narrative methods, Documents of Life Revisited offers a sympathetic yet critical engagement with Plummer's work, exploring a range of different kinds of life documents and delineating a critical humanist methodology for researching and writing about these. A rich examination of the methods and methodologies associated with contemporary research in the social sciences and humanities, this book will be of interest to those concerned with the use and importance of biographical and narrative sources and documents of life investigations. As such, it will appeal to sociologists, social anthropologists and geographers, as well as scholars of cultural studies and cultural history, literary studies and library, archive and cultural management, social policy and medical studies.



Liz Stanley is Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh and Director of its Centre for Narrative and Auto/Biographical Studies, UK. She is the author of Mourning Becomes... Post/Memory and the Concentration Camps of the South African War; Imperialism, Labour and the New Woman: Olive Schreiner's Social Theory; Sex Surveyed, 1949 to 1994: From Mass-Observation's 'Little Kinsey' to the National Survey and The Hite Reports and The Auto/Biographical I: Theory and Practice of Feminist Auto/Biography. She is co-author of Breaking Out Again: Feminist Ontology and Epistemology; and The Life and Death of Emily Wilding Davison. She is editor of Knowing Feminisms: On Academic Borders, Territories and Tribes; Feminist Praxis: Research, Theory and Epistemology in Feminist Sociology; The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick; and British Feminist Histories and co-editor of Debates in Sociology; and Men and Sex.


’Documents of life have been acknowledged as major research resources for a century and more. But they do not always receive the critical attention they deserve. As Liz Stanley and her authors demonstrate here, we need to revisit the humanist tradition that treats lives, narratives and biographies as prime topics of analysis and as sources of insight in the social sciences.’ Paul Atkinson, Cardiff University, UK ’Truth is beauty, Ken Plummer writes in his contribution to this critical volume of essays that respond to his pathbreaking work Documents of Life. This is indeed a beautiful book, wherein truth unfolds through different stories, artfully brought together by Liz Stanley. A book about the thick autonomy and the unbearable lightness of stories entangled in the web of human relations.’ Maria Tamboukou, University of East London, UK