Tag: autoethnography

THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF GAY MEN: Autoethnographies of the Ordinary has just been published, edited by Edgar Rodriquez-Dorans and Jason Holmes.

I have recently been involved in a new edited collection of personal stories by gay men. The Everyday Lives of Gay Men draws on the expertise of 12 contributors from different countries and fields, writing from an auto-ethnographic first-person approach. Putting the power of personal stories at the centre of the construction of sophisticated narratives of gay…

Transplants and the Total Life Experience: On the 10th Anniversary of ‘Becoming Ill’

          Today, March 9th, marks the 10th anniversary of my ‘illness’. It is this day in 2005 I was rushed to hospital in Santa Barbara, diagnosed with ‘alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver’, told to give up drink or die. It was also the day I first heard the word ‘transplant’ It…

Imaginations- in the Times Higher Education. October 2nd

Imaginations: University of Essex’s sociological half-century Eminent sociologist Ken Plummer captures 50 tales of a groundbreaking department.   The continuing relevance of the ideals that have inspired one of Britain’s pioneering departments of sociology is examined in a new book.   Ken Plummer, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Essex, has devoted much…

Narrative Research on Sickness

Announcement: Narrative Research on Sickness and Illness SORRY: THIS COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED FOR THIS YEAR   Friday June 13th 10.00 -4.15 Note: plenty of places at present and it might be cancelled because of lack of interest Constable Building, Seminar Room 3 Ken Plummer Course Overview: Telling stories about our illnesses has become a…


Just to announce this annual course which I will be running again this year at the end of January 2014 at the University of Essex.

It is open to all . But as part of that endless money making machine called ‘university’, it now costs !

30-1 January 2014: Narrative research and documents of life

Professor Ken Plummer

At 10:00 in Seminar room 3, Constable Building.

Story tellings, and the narratives that accompany them, are basic human social processes; we are the narrating animal. Although such story tellings are often neglected in the orthodoxies of social research, they are usually critical to every stage of the human social research process.

Humanistic research places the human story at the research centre and adopts humanistic values in such research. It is interested in a wide array of tools for telling these stories, including photos, self analysis, artefacts and documentaries.

This course will look at some key recent trends in qualitative research, but especially the concern with narratives and stories. In the broadest terms we study the stories that people tell of their lives; we connect these stories to the stories of our lives; and we ultimately represent them as our ‘social science stories’ – in essays, theses, books, films, photos, media, conferences, exhibitions.

This course will take place from 30-31 January.

Learn more about these courses and book a place. ( Click back for info)


In 2011 Liz Stanley organised a conference to discuss developments in life story work since the publication  of  Documents of Life. This was a book I first published in 1983 when I was busy  using personal documents in research; and was re-written in 2001 as Documents of Life-2: An Invitation to a Critical Humanism. The…

One day course on illness

A one day course will be run by Ken on illness stories on Friday June 14th Stories of Health and Illness: An Introduction: (Essex Short Courses in Social Research) Professor Ken Plummer from Department of Sociology, University of Essex At 09:30 in Seminar Room 3, Constable Building, Essex University, Colchester Campus . Course overview Telling…

Short course on life stories

Documents of Life: Narratives and Humanistic Social Research (two-day course): Professor Ken Plummer from Department of Sociology, University of Essex This course will run for two days on Thursday 31st January and Friday 1st February 2013 At 10:00 in Seminar Room 3, Constable Building, University of Essex, Colchester Campus. Course overview Story tellings, and the narratives that…

On Jimmy McGovern: Sociologist manque

Jimmy McGovern comes from Liverpool , one of nine children. From a very poor family, he taught in a secondary school for a while, and knows very well  the complexities of the lives of ordinary everyday people trapped in ordinary everyday, but challenging, circumstances. And this is what he researches, writes about and produces. And…

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