Biography as empowering practice: lessons from research

Joanna Bornat and Jan Walmsley

in Biographical methods and professional practice

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861344939
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301554 | DOI:
Biography as empowering practice: lessons from research

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This chapter explores the way of positioning biographical research and practice on a top-down/bottom-up matrix. It questions the claims for empowerment through biographical work. It does not suggest that any one positioning on the matrix is more or less desirable than the other. The chapter offers a matrix as a form of self-evaluation and reflection on research processes. In also considers issues such as ownership, power in research relationships, presentation, structure and process. Topics discussed include: the application of the research matrix; biography in top-down research; biography in bottom-up research; top-down practice; and bottom-up practice.

Keywords: biographical research; biographical practice; top-down matrix; bottom-up matrix; claims for empowerment; biographical work; form of self-evaluation; form of reflection; ownership; power in research

Chapter.  6650 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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