Becoming Who We Are – a realist approach to studying personal change

In this presentation I draw on critical realist theories of the person to offer an account of how persons change, or fail to change, over time. I argue that many of the substantive concerns of biographical and lifecourse research can be fruitfully recast as questions relating to personal morphostatis (staying the same) or personal morphogenesis (changing). I engage with theoretical questions of temporality and identity to sketch out a practical methodology for studying morphogenetic processes in personal life. This approach was developed over a two year multi-method longitudinal study of 18 undergraduate students across five academic disciplines.

I’m now close to half way through what will be the fifth and final year of my (part time) PhD. So I figure it’s time I learn to summarise my PhD in 20 mins or less. Hence the above abstract, which is for a presentation I intend to refine iteratively on as many occasions as I can over the next 6 months or so. This is something which worked wonderfully well for my asexuality research, knitting together a long sequence of similar(ish) presentations into one ongoing project.

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