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  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Diaries as Technologies for Sense-making and Self-transformation in Times of Vulnerability
    Diaries have been generally understood as “windows” on sense-making processes when studying life ruptures. In this article, we draw on Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of self-writing as a “technology of the self” and on sociocultural psychology to propose that diaries are not “windows” but technologies that aid in the sense-making. Concretely, we analyzed three non-exhaustive and non-exclusive uses of diary writing in times of vulnerability: (1) imagination of the future and preparation to encounter difficulties; (2) distancing from one’s own experience; and (3) creating personal commitments. Our longitudinal data comprised three public online diaries written over more than twenty years, belonging to three anonymous individuals selected from a database of more than 400 diaries. We analyzed these three diaries by iterating between qualitative and quantitative analysis. We conclude that: (1) beyond their expressive dimension, diaries are technologies that support the sense-making process, but not without difficulties; (2) diaries form a self-generated space for dialogue with oneself in which the diarist also becomes aware of the social nature of her life story; (3) diaries are not only technologies for the Socratic “know thyself” but also technologies to work on oneself, especially in terms of the personal perspective on the past or the future; and (4) the practice of diary writing goes beyond sense-making towards personal development and the desire to transform one’s life trajectory.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Development and vulnerability across the lifecourse
    What is it that develops in adult life? Development through work and family life have been documented and theorised in detail, but much less is known about what is learned beyond these domains, through people’s engagements in hobbies or when out of work (e.g., unemployed, retired). We argue that adult development can be addressed in general terms, beyond domain specificity; drawing on our sociocultural psychology framework, and assuming an open-system perspective, we highlight the two processes of progressive differentiation and psychological distancing in diverse domains of activity. To address development over time, we explore 20 years of people’s lives through the longitudinal analysis of online diaries. A combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis enables us to identify people’s experiences of rupture and transitions, the diversity of their domains of interests, and how these change over time. Based on a case-study, we show that, if the general direction of development does entail progressive differentiation and distanciation, these processes can also be hindered by the cumulation of vulnerabilising events. Finally, we show that some domains, such as the long-standing activity of diary writing, can itself be used as resource for adult development.