It’s an attempt to develop an explanatory framework through which personal changes over the life course can be explained retroductively in a sociological way. I’m using an empirical case study (two years of longitudinal interviews with 18 students taking different degrees over their first two years of university) to try and develop a practical strategy for explaining the changes people undergo over time in a manner which recognises the simultaneously psychological and social dimensions of such biographical transitions.
My approach proceeds through modelling the life events (a situated individual seeks to resolve an ‘issue’ and/or enact a project) through which people change in terms of iterative 3 stage movements between objective circumstances, subjective concerns and reflexively determined courses of action. In doing so I hope to preserve the subjective meaning and ideographic complexity which motivates narrative approaches while also offering causal explanations of empirically observable biographical transitions in terms of linked cycles of personal change ensuing from life events. In doing so it maintains fidelity to the lived lives of participants in research while also moving beyond them, utilising the continuities and discontinuities in the identified linked cycles of personal change as an emergent framework through which to generate middle range domain specific social theory.