chapter  14
13 Pages

Connecting Big and Intimate Worlds

Using an Auto/Biographical Research Imagination in Career Guidance
ByHazel Reid, Linden West

Auto/biographical and narrative research has the potential to illuminate individual experiences of social injustice and to empower people towards greater agency in their lives. It offers food for thought when applied to current debates about career guidance and counselling in a neoliberal world: into how the personal is both deeply political, but also a means by which oppressive forces can be resisted. Our approach makes use of an interdisciplinary, psychosocial theory of recognition, in which human flourishing is seen to rest on qualities in intimate as well as social space. We argue that the collaborative, dynamic and dialogic nature of this kind of research can contribute to the normative struggle for social justice, by increasing agency among those on the margins. It has the ability to create profounder forms of meaning and to connect micro, meso and macro worlds in the complex stories people tell. We refer to this as a psychosocial framing, recognising the interplay of external and internal worlds, the social, political and the personal in shaping lives and careers.