Exploring Agency, Learning and Identity in Women’s Life Trajectories in UK and Italy

Karen Evans, Chiara Biasin


The ways in which women aged 50, in two different cultural contexts (United Kingdom and Italy), narrate and portray turning points in their life course illuminate the relationships between identity, learning and agency that develop through work, family and life experiences. For the UK sample, the data sources are 31 semi-structured interviews, including drawings representing the life course, selected from the national longitudinal study “Social Participation and Identity” deposited in the UK Archives Data. For the Italian sample, the data sources are 28 semi-structured interviews and drawings, based on the same selected items of the UK interviews and provided by women living in the North-East of Italy. A qualitative comparative approach is used in analysing the data. This study shows how women’s representations of their life course and of turning points in their lives reveal different propensities to reflect and learn from their own lives. The comparative perspective considers these life sources as situated in their cultural, relational and social contexts and reveals variations in ways these women are enabled or restricted in moving their lives forward. 


Agency; Adult Learning; Identity; Life Trajectories; Women's Trajectories

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/reec.29.2017.17212


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