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Unfolding livesYouth, gender and change$
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Rachel Thomson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420510

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420510.001.0001

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Conversation: reading between the lines

Conversation: reading between the lines

(p.153) Nine Conversation: reading between the lines
Unfolding lives

Rachel Thomson

Policy Press

This chapter asks what can be learned by juxtaposing the accounts of Sherleen, Stan, Karin, and Devon. The case studies capture some of the microprocesses and practices of social and personal change that make up individual biographies. Although the cases cannot be understood as representative in any direct way, they are nevertheless emblematic of certain patterns of youth transitions, expressing hotspots in the emergence of new biographical forms. The approach taken in the chapter is to bring the four case studies into conversation. The first section of the chapter discusses the temporal dimension, focusing on biographical methods of living through which these young people's biographies are animated in narrative. In it, the conceptual tools that can be employed across case histories and the notion of reflexive project of self as an umbrella term are discussed. In the second section, the focus moves from the projects of self to the wider genre order within which these projects are situated and to which they contribute. This section seeks to identify the mediums within and through which these young people's unfolding biographies are played out, privileging a focus on structural elements that emerge from these case histories. It focuses on the fields of existence that characterise their accounts, the technologies of self made available therein, the investments and identifications that constrain their adoption, and the social and spatial features which frame their biographies.

Keywords:   case studies, social change, personal change, individual biographies, youth transitions, temporal dimension, biographical methods, conceptual tools, identifications, social features

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