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Critical realism and biographical research


Critical realism and biographical research

A group exploring the possibilities, advantages and limitations of connecting critical realist ontology and biographical methods in social sciences.

Members: 67
Latest Activity: Sep 30, 2013

Group's tentative objectives

'Realist biographies' group explores the possibilities, advantages and limitations of connecting critical social realism and the tradition of biographical research in social sciences. Developed in the 1980s and 1990s by theorists inspired by the work of Roy Bhaskar, critical realism relies on notions of a stratified ontology and an anti-empiricist reinterpretation of causality.

The recent critical realist research by Margaret Archer postulates that human reflexivity is the central mechanism mediating the influence of objective social and cultural conditions. This theoretical assertion offers a natural link with the tradition of biographical research. For Archer (2007:98), "a full understanding of how actors reflexively make their way through the world, dealing as they must with at least some of its social properties and powers, requires an exploration of their life and work histories”. Turning to the people and their biographical experiences is based on the assumption that “explaining what people do…involves reference to agents’ subjective and reflexive formulation of personal projects – in the light of their objective circumstances.” (Archer 2003: 5).

In this discussion group we are interested if and how far the critical realist ontology can be integrated with the tradition of biographical research. What critical realists can learn from the methodological experiences of biographical researchers? And vice versa: how methodological debates within biographical approach - in particular the discussion between 'constructivists' and 'realists' - can be enriched by the strong ontological assumptions of critical realism?

Discussion Forum

Realist biography and European policy - workshop's summary 1 Reply

Started by Adam Mrozowicki. Last reply by Mandy Nielsen Apr 26, 2010.

RealBiog – a brief concept statement

Started by Adam Mrozowicki Sep 19, 2009.

Comment Wall

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Comment by Kemal Taruc on August 10, 2012 at 15:48

Any suggestion or reference on how to apply the method for a research on 'urban consumption?' how and what city people consume, spend, and do their everyday life? Thanks

Comment by Anindya Das on May 16, 2012 at 18:57

Listen to Roy Bhaskar's Social Theory and Health 2012 Annual Lecture at:

Comment by zahid latif on June 1, 2010 at 12:35
Hi Dear friends:
This is zahid, and i am doing a research in international relations, I hope we cooperate together .

Comment by Abolfazl Hajizadegan on March 16, 2010 at 8:00
"Zharfa Kavan Sabz" Research group is a corporation who recently has been founded to do the study and research project in Iran or elsewhere. This corporation consists of some young experts in so many different fields of study from literature to the sociology and from mathematics and statistics to physics. All the experts of ZHARFA are high-grade postgraduates from well-known universities of Iran.
Zharfa Kavan Sabz is registered under the number 370231 in Iranian Organization for Registration of Industrial and Non Commercial Corporations and acts under the Laws of Islamic Republic of Iran. The main office of ZHARFA is in Tehran. It enjoys the profession of more than 20 researches who all are equipped with all researches and studies requirements.
Zharfa Kavan Sabz teams work in three departments, i.e. Research Department (RD), Studies Department (SD), and Translation Department (TD), each under the management of the best researcher, best study expert, and best translator in the fields. The scope of the work of RD is theoretical and library based researches; the scope of the work of SD is survey studies and statistical analysis; and the scope of the work of TD is translation from Persian to other languages and vice versa. Of course theses scope will overlap each other in any project and all these departments will act as complementary to each other to deliver the best qualified and accurate research projects.
Zharfa Kavan Sabz welcomes all the research projects and will willingly do its bests to deliver any sort of such projects. The contact details of Managing Director of the Corporation are as follow:
Tel: +98 21 66 73 71 02
Mob: +98 912 40 10 381
Comment by mozhde daliri on February 4, 2010 at 22:47
tanks a lot
Comment by mozhde daliri on February 4, 2010 at 21:29
I love Critical realism and biographical research,I want use this metod in my tez.
I try make a mechanism for aging and Globalizition
I`m student in bu-alisina uni-Hamedan-iran

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