A history of biographical research in the United Kingdom

  • Barbara Merrill University of Warwick
  • Linden West Canterbury Christ Church University
Palavras-chave: Auto/biography, Marginality, Psychosocial, Class, Gender and subjectivity,


Biograpahical researchers in the United Kingdom have been influenced by symbolic interactionism, feminism, oral history, critical sociology, psychoanalysis and what we term an auto/biographical imagination. The latter involves reflexively situating the researcher and her influence, via power, unconscious processes and writing, into the text and by acknowledgeing the co-construction of stories. The focus of much research has been on marginalised peoples, as part of a democratising project to bring more diverse voices and stories into the historical or contemporary social record. It is important to avoid too rigid a distinction between mainland Europe and developments in Britain. Collaboration and dialogue have been extensive, across various research networks, including in the European Society for Research in the Education of Adults (ESREA).


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Biografia do Autor

Barbara Merrill, University of Warwick

Is a widely published author and Reader/Associate Professor at Warwick University. She is involved in coordinating several European and is a member of the Council of the Conference on University Teaching and Research in
the Education of Adults (SCUTREA) and the Steering Committee of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA). Her books include Using Biographical methods.

Linden West, Canterbury Christ Church University

Professor of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, and jointly coordinates ESREA‘s Life History
and Biography Network. He has been Visiting Professor at Paris Nanterre and Milano-Bicocca. His books include Beyond Fragments, adults and higher education, Using Biographical methods, Distress in the city and Transforming perspectives in lifelong learning and adult education.


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MERRILL, B.; WEST, L. A history of biographical research in the United Kingdom. Revista Brasileira de Pesquisa (Auto)biográfica, v. 3, n. 9, p. 765-780, 20 dez. 2018.