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for completing memory book
One of the methodological innovations of
the study, these memorybooks built on the theory and practice of
'memory work' ( Crawford, J. and Kippax, S., Onyx, J., Gault, U. and
Benton, P. (1992) Emotion and gender, London:
Sage); the use of photographic albums in oral history/cultural studies
( Spence, J. and Holland, P. (eds) (1991) Family snaps: The
meaning of domestic photography, London:Virago); the use of
photographs in autobiographical work with young people ( Cohen, P.
(1989) Really useful knowledge: photography and cultural
studies in the transition from school, London: Trentham
Books; Towers, T. (1986) In Pateman, T.
(ed) Autobiography and education, University of
Sussex Education Area Occasional Paper); and methods employed in child
therapy ( Jones, A. M. (1985) The foster child, identity and
the life story book, Bangor: University College of North
Wales; Harper, J. (1996) 'Recapturing the past: Alternative methods of
life story work', Adoption and Fostering, 20 (3):
21-28; Barnardo’s (1992) The memory store,
We invited young people to include material
they saw as relevant to their current and future identities and records
of their experiences in whatever form they saw as appropriate. They
were given the memorybook, together with a user guide and a set of
stickers providing possible topics, at interview 2.
We hoped that the books would represent
examples of the 'reflexive project of self'. When completed (N=49) the
books were used as a basis for second round interviews. Their main
characteristics were mapped in terms of style, content, and audience.
They were also used as data within our wider project of understanding
how young people 'invent' their emergent adult identities. The
different functions of this method reflected Plummer's distinction
between the roles that diaries, biographical objects and visual data
may play as 'documents of life', and that of acting as resources
for further explanation and as critical
tools for understanding identity [ Plummer, K. (2001) Documents
of life 2: A critical invitation to humanism, London: Sage].