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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Life Course

Johannes Huinink and Betina Hollstein


Research into individual life courses can be considered a special means of investigating social change. This chapter reviews contributions to life-course research in German-language sociology with a focus on its development over the last two decades. We start with a brief overview of the early years of life-course research and sketch three strands of research that were original even by international standards. In the second section, we describe conceptual and methodical approaches to German-language life-course research along with important data collections that triggered a plethora of empirical life-course studies. Section three focuses on the primary fields of life-course research and provides examples of empirical contributions by quantitative studies. In section four,we address specific characteristics of biographical research in German-speaking countries that can fertilize life-course research. The chapter closes with some brief remarks about the challenges that life-course research faces in the future.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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