The Reconstruction of Relational Patterns From Problem-Centered, Biographical Interviews by the Example of Academic Career Paths

Marina Hennig, Aline Federmann


While previous research primarily focused on the general effect of academic cooperation networks, in this article we take a look at interactions of scientists with a view to gaining insights into the restrictions and opportunities in different relations. In accordance with WINDELER's structuration-informed network theory (2001), we assume that actors through their interactions constitute social practices, and actions in turn, are tied to these practices. Relations and interactions are embedded in the social contexts in which they occur. These context-specific network practices are concealed behind the social relationships. Based on these considerations, the question arises which network practices can be detected behind the social relationships manifested in the career paths of professors. To investigate this, in 2015/2016 we conducted problem-centered biographical interviews on social relations in the career path with ten professors working in the social and natural sciences at different universities in Germany. With the help of grounded theory methodology and biographical topos analysis different relationship patterns in the familial and non-familial context were identified. In this article, we illustrate such context-specific patterns and the network practices behind them using career networks in science.


social relations; relational patterns; network practices; problem-centered interview; grounded theory methodology; biographical topos analysis; network analysis


Copyright (c) 2018 Marina Hennig, Aline Federmann

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