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Narrating Cases: a Storytelling Approach to Case Study Analysis in the Field of Lifelong Learning Policies

TitleNarrating Cases: a Storytelling Approach to Case Study Analysis in the Field of Lifelong Learning Policies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBenasso S, Palumbo M, Pandolfini V
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published07/2019
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordscase study analysis, life course, lifelong learning, storytelling

The paper aims to discuss the narrative approach to case study analysis, drawing on the research carried out within the H2020 European Project YOUNG_ADULLLT. It aimed to analyse Lifelong Learning (LLL) policies targeted to young adults in Europe, particularly those in situations of social exclusion, focusing on the different ways in which the policies are socially embedded in specific local contexts across Europe. By a multimethod and multilevel perspective, the research sought to explore the interplay between structural, institutional and individual levels to understand the relationship and complementarity between the LLL policies and the young people’s social conditions, needs and expectations. The paper focuses on the narrative approach, namely the “storytelling strategy”, adopted to examine the Lifelong Learning policies chosen as case studies in their social, political and economic realities. Different examples of storytelling and their contribution to analyse LLL policies are explored. Lastly, we critically discuss whether the narrative approach allowed to build a dense portrait able to yield the complexity and the specificity of the cases, reconstructing the story of the meaning of Lifelong Learning in different constellations. Epistemological and methodological considerations on the use of narrative approach in social science are provided, highlighting its opportunities and limits.