A forthcoming open-access piece in History of the Human Sciences may interest AHP readers, “Recomposing persons: Scavenging and storytelling in a birth cohort archive” by Penny Tinkler, Resto Cruz, Laura Fenton. Abstract:
Birth cohort studies can be used not only to generate population-level quantitative data, but also to recompose persons. The crux is how we understand data and persons. Recomposition entails scavenging for various (including unrecognised) data. It foregrounds the perspective and subjectivity of survey participants, but without forgetting the partiality and incompleteness of the accounts that it may generate. Although interested in the singularity of individuals, it attends to the historical and relational embeddedness of personhood. It examines the multiple and complex temporalities that suffuse people’s lives, hence departing from linear notions of the life course. It implies involvement, as well as reflexivity, on the part of researchers. It embraces the heterogeneity and transformations over time of scientific archives and the interpretive possibilities, as well as incompleteness, of birth cohort studies data. Interested in the unfolding of lives over time, it also shines light on meaningful biographical moments.