Policy Press

Biography and Turning Points in Europe and America

Edited by Karla B. Hackstaff, Feiwel Kupferberg and Catherine Negroni


Jun 22, 2012

Page count

272 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Biography and Turning Points in Europe and America

This sociological collection advances the argument that the concept of a "turning point" expands our understanding of life experiences from a descriptive to a deeper and more abstract level of analysis. It addresses the conceptual issue of what distinguishes turning points from life transitions in general and raises crucial questions about the application of turning points as a biographical research method. Biography and turning points in Europe and America is all the more distinctive and significant due to its broad empirical database. The anthology includes authors from ten different countries, providing a number of contexts for thinking about how turning points relate to constructions of meaning shaped by globalization and by cultural and structural meanings unique to each country. The book will be useful across a wide range of social sciences and particularly valuable for researchers needing a stronger theoretical base for biographical work.

"This is a timely and highly original collection of work which pushes boundaries methodologically and theoretically engaging directly with debates amongst practitioners and policy makers." Joanna Bornat, Emeritus Professor, The Open University

'This captivating sociological collection describes the broad experiential research by scholars from ten different countries...focusing on the various contexts for thinking about turning points under both international and national forces.' Symbolic Interaction.

Karla B. Hackstaff (Ph.D.) is a Professor of Sociology and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at Northern Arizona University, USA.

Feiwel Kupferberg (Ph.D.) is Professor of Education at Malmo University, Sweden. 

Catherine Négroni (Ph.D) is Associate Professor in Sociology at Charles de Gaulle University-Lille (CLERSE; Centre Lillois d'Études et de Recherches Sociologiques et Économiques), France

Introduction: Advancing the dialogue on turning points ~ Karla B. Hackstaff; Unpacking biographical narratives: investigating stories of artistic careers in Northern Jutland, Denmark ~ Feiwel Kupferberg; Turning points in the life course: a narrative concept in professional bifurcations ~ Catherine Négroni; Conjugal separation and immigration in the life course of immigrant single mothers in Québec ~ Ana Gherghel and Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques; Migration biography and ethnic identity: on the discontinuity of biographical experience and how turning points affect the ethnicisation of biography ~Thea D. Boldt; Biographical structuring through a critical life event: parental loss during childhood ~ Gerhard Jost; Decisive turning points in life trajectories of violence among young men in the barrios of Caracas: the initiation and biographical reconversion to non-violent lifestyles ~ Verónica Zubillaga; The turning points of the single life course in Budapest, Hungary ~ Ágnes Sántha; Complicating actions and complicated lives: raising questions about narrative theory through an exploration of lesbian lives ~ Nikki Ward; Religious conversion as a biographical turn/ing: the case of Orthodox believers in contemporary Russia ~ Liana Ipatova; Conclusion: theorising turning points and decoding narratives ~ Feiwel Kupferberg.