This book discusses the relevance of biographical methods and the contextualised understanding of human agency as keys in professional interventions. Its interest lies in the effectiveness of biographical methods in investigating and generating new forms of social practice and in gaining fresh insights into institutional processes. The contributions in this book illustrate the way in which biographical methods have been applied in various aspects of professional training as well as in partnership with users. It evaluates the biographical practice against a mapping of practitioner and user positioning and experience. It also reviews developments in policy and practice in a comparative European perspective. This book is based on the dialogues of international networks of biographical researchers and draws on research from a wide range of countries. In this introductory chapter, the concept of ‘professional practice’ is defined and clarified. The introductory chapter then moves on by reflecting on the differing contexts in which biographically focused professional practice has emerged.
Keywords: biographical methods, human agency, professional interventions, social practice, institutional processes, professional training, biographical practice, policy and practice, European perspective, biographical researchers
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