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Biographical methods and professional practiceAn international perspective$
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Prue Chamberlayne

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781861344939

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861344939.001.0001

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Biographical methods and social policy in European perspective

Biographical methods and social policy in European perspective

(p.18) (p.19) Two Biographical methods and social policy in European perspective
Biographical methods and professional practice

Prue Chamberlayne

Policy Press

This chapter examines some of the ways in which biographical methods have challenged the established approaches to social policy, and how this challenge varies and develops in different European welfare systems. The chapter begins by drawing on the research that focused on the ‘cultures of care’ and ‘social strategies in a risk society’, to illustrate how comparative work can generate new understandings of the welfare contexts and welfare processes, processes of social change, including social relations and resources. The second section gives some examples of discussions in different European contexts on the implications and impact of biographical research for social policy. It focuses on what new understandings of subjectivity and social change imply for institutional settings and training in social professions. It is argued in this chapter that biographical methods need hospitable policy concepts in order to animate relationships between research, policy and practice, and that conceptual exchange at the European level is a crucial and significant resource in the reinvigoration of social policy.

Keywords:   biographical methods, social policy, European welfare systems, cultures of care, social strategies, biographical research

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