Policy Press

Biography and social exclusion in Europe

Experiences and life journeys

Edited by Prue Chamberlayne, Michael Rustin and Tom Wengraf


Nov 27, 2002

Page count

352 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Biography and social exclusion in Europe

Based on 250 life-story interviews in seven European Union countries, Biography and social exclusion in Europe:

analyses personal struggles against social exclusion to illuminate local milieus and changing welfare regimes and contexts;

points to challenging new agendas for European politics and welfare, beyond the rhetoric of communitarianism and the New Deal;

vividly illustrates the lived experience and environmental complexity working for and against structural processes of social exclusion;

refashions the interpretive tradition as a teaching and research tool linking macro and micro realities.

· · 

Students, academic teachers and professional trainers, practitioners, politicians, policy makers and researchers in applied and comparative welfare fields will all benefit from reading this book.

"... a series of fascinating and very different accounts of the experiences of people such as those made redundant, migrants, single parents, people leaving school without qualifications ... an empirically grounded, theoretically informed and truly analytical work." SPA News

"... this book can be seen as scientific proof that the personal and the human need to be reintroduced into the social political process." European Interests, newsletter, (ESOSC)

"A highly exciting and innovative book. This development in ethnographic methods in social research is immensely valuable and relevant to key questions in contemporary societies." Walter Lorenz, Department of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, Ireland

Prue Chamberlayne is Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health and Social Welfare at the Open University. She has extensive experience of teaching comparative social policy and of using biographical methods in research. She is currently engaged in applying such methods to professional training and evaluation work.

Tom Wengraf, Visiting Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Research Methods at Middlesex University, was co-editor of The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science (2000), and his Qualitative Research Interviewing: biographic narrative and semi-structured methods was published in 2001. 

Michael Rustin is Professor of Sociology at the University of East London, and a Visiting Professor at the Tavistock Clinic. His recent book Reason and Unreason: Psychoanalysis, Science and Politics (2001) explores interconnections between psychoanalysis, qualitative research methods, and social policy.

Contents: Introduction: from biography to social policy ~ Michael Rustin and Prue Chamberlayne; Suffering the fall of the Berlin wall: blocked journeys in Spain and Germany ~ William Hungerbühler, Elisabet Tejero and Laura Torrabadella;

Guilty victims: social exclusion in contemporary France ~ Numa Murard; Premodernity and postmodernity in Southern Italy ~ Antonella Spanò; A tale of class differences in contemporary Britain ~ Michael Rustin; The shortest way out of work ~ Numa Murard; Male journeys into uncertainty ~ Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kapolou and Elizabeth Mestheneos; Love and emancipation ~ Birgitta Thorsell; Female identities in late modernity ~ Antonella Spanò; Gender and family in the development of Greek state and society ~ Elizabeth Mestheneos and Elisabeth Ioannidi-Kapolou; Corporatist structure and cultural diversity in Sweden ~ Martin Peterson; 'Migrants': a target-category for social policy? Experiences of first-generation migration ~ Roswitha Breckner; Second-generation transcultural lives ~ Prue Chamberlayne; Biographical work and agency innovation: relationships, reflexivity and theory-in-use ~ Tom Wengraf; Conclusions: social transitions and biographical work ~ Prue Chamberlayne.

Related Titles