A1 Journal article (refereed)
The relevance of biographic narratives for social workers’ professional memory, reflexivity and identity (2021)

Silva, P. G. (2021). The relevance of biographic narratives for social workers’ professional memory, reflexivity and identity. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, 20(5), 1374-1392. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325020967725

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsSilva, Pedro Gabriel

Journal or seriesQualitative Social Work: Research and Practice



Publication year2021


Issue number5

Pages range1374-1392

PublisherSage Publications

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73542


The present article is about the use of biographic methods and oral history, and its contribution to developing processes of critical reflection and reflexivity. It is based on a set of oral data collected from Portuguese social workers who played an active role in the revolutionary phase during the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Portugal (following the 25th April 1974 military coup). The article explores how the use of biographic methods (integrated within a historical methodological framework), other than simply producing accounts of past experiences, allowed interviewees to re-capture, re-interpret and re-signify their own experiences in the light of changing professional paradigms and socio-political arrangements. It will demonstrate how resorting to oral history methods can contribute to produce critical self-reflective accounts, allowing intra-professional tensions, self-expectations, beliefs and disenchantment, as well as professional identification and deidentification to surface. Three examples will be presented that reveal how favouring an approach based on oral history, biographic methods and narrative analysis allows perceiving individual dispositions, its construction and the influence they have on the subjects’ relation with the canons of professional practice, while showing the ambiguities around professional representations and identification.

Keywordssocial workerspolitical participationrevolutionsbiographical historyoral historybiographiespersonal narrativeidentity (mental objects)professional identityreflection (cognitive processes)

Free keywordsoral history; biographic narratives; critical reflection; narrative analysis; identity

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:56