• Summary
  • Overview
  • Key Readings

The life history or biographical research method was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century and, after a period of eclipse caused by the rise of quantitative methods, is enjoying a resurgence of interest. This burgeoning of interest is enough that we can now speak of a biographical ‘turn’ as the social sciences

These four volumes present the first established collection of the biographical method literature and brings together the many diverse strands. The set will serve to set the canon for this re-established research area.

The collection is organized around eight themes: the classical statements dominated by the pre-war American ‘Chicago School’ of sociology; the neo-classical statements of the first wave of renewed interest in the 1970s; interviewing, including reflexivity, recall and narrative structures; ...

Editor's Introduction: The Ambit of Biographical Research

Attempting to construct a selection of articles, book chapters and excerpts that attains a comprehensive coverage of a complete area of social science endeavour - in this case bio-graphical research - is a ‘luxurious discipline’. The generous remit given by Sage1 is deceptive. Deciding upon the first selections was easy; there are some classic statements in biographical research, such as Mannheim on generations or Mills on the sociological imagination, that retain their relevance. Similarly, there are authors such as Bertaux, Kohli or Schütze who due to the enduring quality of their insights are bound to appear. Beyond that, however, which items to include, and how to organise them once they are selected is not so clear. A straight ...

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