Historical and Theoretical Background

Biography and life story research is conducted in multiple disciplines in related forms, including history, psychology, and other social sciences. In history, biography research has evolved from what used to be the standard life and times approach. Historians placed the life within a historical period and context for the reader to learn about the historical period. In the last forty years, historians using biography have placed more emphasis on analysis of the life itself, rather than on the historical period.

Over time historians have become less interested in selecting the lives of “great men” for biography (see Carlyle, 1841) and have instead selected subjects of study who were not necessarily famous, ...

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