Despite the well-established consensus on the need for an interdisciplinary research paradigm to understand the unfolding of human lives within their social context, existing empirical research rarely embraces this belief. This volume aims at examining the feasibility and hurdles of interdisciplinarity specific to given research fields by bringing together leading North-American and European researchers in sociology, psychology, social psychology and social demography, all highly concerned with fostering an interdisciplinary perspective for the study of the human life course. The contributions are organized along four major axes, three of them substantive (agency and structure, transitions, and biographical re-constructions) and one methodological (methodological innovations), leaving ample leeway for the contributions to address the specific gains and difficulties of empirical interdisciplinary research within their particular domain. The editors introduce the volume by discussing general features, theoretical linkages, and transversal substantive themes of interdisciplinarity in life course research. Likewise, the volume is ended by the editors’ conclusions based on the contributions; they single out major challenges and difficulties for the interdisciplinary study of the life course, together with some promising research meant to address such difficulties and improve current knowledge about the life course.
The volume speaks to both experienced scholars and graduate students of the life course. Advanced scholars will benefit from the latest in life course research domains and from a comprehensive overview of life course methodologies. Graduate students of the life course will find in the book an original introduction to many empirical aspects of life course research and to the application of innovative methods to various research settings, as well as rich bibliographical references from the research literature in English, German and French.