9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Biography and Life History Research Building II, C2.01

Narratives and Membership: Combining qualitative methods to examine the biographical accounts of older LGBT adults

In this paper we illustrate how we have been combining two established qualitative methodologies, narrative analysis and membership categorisation analysis, in order to examine the biographical accounts of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults. Narrative analysis is concerned with examining the processes of story-making that individuals and groups construct in specific settings, for specific purposes. As a methodology, it has been particularly prominent in biographical research. On the other hand, membership categorisation analysis (MCA) is a form of conversation analysis that is attuned to investigating the categories and attributes that people use in talk, largely to undertake forms of identity work. So far within qualitative research, these methodologies have rarely been used in conjunction. In this paper, we explain how and why we have used them in our research. We highlight, in particular, how combining NA and MCA has enabled us to consider how older LGBT adults accomplish their identities in relation to both social and situated requirements. We conclude that this has implications for those interested in theorising and creating policies for older LGBT adults in contemporary European societies, in addition to qualitative researchers interested in biography and identity.