Biography as empowering practice: lessons learned from research

Bornat, Joanna and Walmsley, Jan (2004). Biography as empowering practice: lessons learned from research. In: Chamberlayne, Prue; Bornat, Joanna and Aptizsch, Ursula eds. Biographical methods and professional practice: an international perspective. Bristol, UK: Policy Press, pp. 221–236.



The use of biography and autobiography today, compared with only 20 years ago in the UK, is now ubiquituous in work with vulnerable people in care settings. Biographical materials exist implicitly and explicitly in a vareity of forms. While encouraging a more subjective understanding of care experiences, some authors claim that biographical methods are also empowering for research participants. The chapter explores ways of positioning biographical research and practice in a top-down/bottom-up matrix. In so doing it arrives at a more questioning appraisal of claims for empowerment through biographical work.

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