ERIC Number: ED229291
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Strategies of Life Course Analysis.
Nydegger, Corinne N.
Methodologies for life course analyses must explain complex biological, psychosocial, and social factors which result in various patterns of life trajectories. Four problems are characteristic of current research: a seemingly endless list of potentially significant variables; a dearth of life course theory beyond childhood to assist in targeting variables; the complex interweaving of factors (e.g., age, career stage, family stage); and the use of atemporal variables which are examined across time (Does an instrument measure the same construct in adolescence as in old age, or in differing historical periods?). Similarly, the polarization of current methodologies creates problems. For example, nomothetic strategies, concerned with developmental stages and universal processes, consider any contextual variation as an extraneous source of error and confusion. The opposite pole, contextual strategies, targets the social context to ascertain the way it shapes life. Also, unidimensional variables form one pole of which holism is the other extreme. The "scientific" psychologist or sociologist is pitted against the "humanist" biographer, often creating misunderstanding and unproductive argument. Neither extreme of these polarities works well; the most useful tools will capture interactions through time, among dimensions of lives, and between lives and their contents. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHHS/PHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Life Cycles; Life Events
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (81st, Washington, DC, December, 1982).