emergence and development of life course.pdf

emergence and development of life course.pdf - Handbook of...

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Handbook of the Life Course Edited by Jeylan T. Mortimer University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota Michael J. Shanahan University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers New York Boston Dordrecht London Moscow
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Handbook of the life course / [edited by] Jeylan T. Mortimer, Michael J. Shanahan p. cm. - (Handbooks of sociology and social research) Includes bibliographical references and index ISBN 0-306-47498-0 1. Life cycle, Human—Social aspects. 2. Developmental psychology. I. Mortimer, Jeylan X, 1943- II. Shanahan, Michael J. III. Series. HQ799.95 .H36 2003 305.2—dc21 2002042769 •-cc IwofK i t to i y 7 ^ 0 0 3 ISBN: 0-306-47498-0 © 2003 Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York 233 Spring Street, New York, New York 10013 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 A C.I.P. Catalogue record for this book is available form the Library of Congress Copyright © 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission from the Publisher, with the exception of any material supplied specifically for the purpose of being entered and executed on a computer system, for exclusive use by the purchaser of the work. Permission for books published in Europe: [email protected] wkap.nl Permission for books published in the United States of America: permissions @ wkap.com Printed in the United States of America.
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CHAPTER 1 The Emergence and Development of Life Course Theory GLEN H. ELDER Jr. MONICA KIRKPATRICK JOHNSON ROBERT CROSNOE Today, the life course perspective is perhaps the pre-eminent theoretical orientation in the study of lives, but this has not always been the case. The life histories and future trajectories of indi- viduals and groups were largely neglected by early sociological research. In the pioneering study, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918-1920), W. I. Thomas (with Florian Znaniecki) first made use of such histories and trajectories and argued strongly that they be investigated more fully by sociologists. By the mid-1920s, Thomas was emphasizing the vital need for a "longitu- dinal approach to life history" using life record data (Volkart, 1951, p. 593). He advocated that studies investigate "many types of individuals with regard to their experiences and various past periods of life in different situations" and follow "groups of individuals into the future, getting a continuous record of experiences as they occur." Though this advice went unheeded for decades, Thomas's early recommendations anticipated study of the hfe course and longitudinal research that has become such a central part of modern sociology and other disciplines.
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