In order to research the identities of young people in contemporary Europe Idesigned a participatory project which relied on the application of amulti-method autobiographical approach. The project fully involved the youngparticipants as co-researchers, assigning them a guiding role, and allowing themto provide the identity narratives which were most significant to them, in theirown terms. The multi-method autobiographical approach that I present here wasdesigned so to study identities as dialogical constructions, on the basis of aholistic ‘self+other’ model, which assumes that the dimension of dialogue andthe relationship with the other from us are fundamental in the process ofidentity definition. Main aim of the approach was encouraging reflexivity, andit offered a variety of media for the young participants to narrate theirlife-stories. Centring on the production of a one-week diary, it involved alsotwo open- ended interviews, as well as the use of visual methods, the projectivetechnique of the self-portrait, and the collection of participants’ ownphotographs. The young people responded enthusiastically to this methodology,which sometimes also empowered them over their lives. Its flexible and openstructure effectively allowed them to guide the research in the directions theywanted, being sensitive to their own preferred ways of self-expression. The useof written and visual methods significantly widened the area of research,accessing data that might have been difficult to gather otherwise.
Sociological Research Online – SAGE
Published: May 1, 2004
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