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

  • Marina Hennig Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
  • Aline Federmann Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Keywords: social relations, relational patterns, network practices, problem-centered interview, grounded theory methodology, biographical topos analysis, network analysis


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.


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Author Biographies

Marina Hennig, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Marina HENNIG ist Professorin für Netzwerkforschung und Familiensoziologie an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Ihre Arbeitsschwerpunkte liegen in der Analyse ego-zentrierter Netzwerke, der Analyse von Familienbeziehungen im urbanen zeitgenössischen Deutschland, der Entstehung von Sozialkapital in sozialen Netzwerken wie z.B. Facebook und der theoretischen Fundierung der Netzwerkperspektive.

Aline Federmann, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Aline FEDERMANN ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Zentrum für Qualitätssicherung und -entwicklung an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Sie beschäftigt sich mit Themen rund um die Hochschulforschung und ist spezialisiert auf qualitative Methoden der Sozialforschung wie Interviewforschung, Ethnografie, qualitative Typenbildung und Grounded-Theory-Methodologie.

How to Cite
Hennig, M., & Federmann, A. (2018). The Reconstruction of Relational Patterns From Problem-Centered, Biographical Interviews by the Example of Academic Career Paths. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2).
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