Biographical Reconstructive Network Analysis (BRNA): A Life Historical Approach in Social Network Analysis of Older Migrants in Australia


  • Rosa Brandhorst Universität Bielefeld
  • Lukasz Krzyzowski AGH University of Science and Technology



biographical reconstructive network analysis, qualitative network analysis, biographical research, social support networks, personal social network analysis, network dynamics, interpretative research


While qualitative approaches in social network analysis have been flourishing, the research processes, especially data analysis, are still often informed by the structural network analysis paradigm. Furthermore, there is a lack of analytical approaches and systematic discussion on possible ways to analyze network data collected in the qualitative interpretative research paradigm. To close this gap, we propose a methodological approach that builds on the cultural turn in social network analysis that advocates a focus on subjective patterns of interpretation and historical/processual configurations. We formulate a biographical network analytical perspective, analyzing the development of a social network through a person's life history. Based on a case study derived from a research project on transnational support networks of older migrants in Perth, Australia, we aim to explicate the analytical procedure of the biographical reconstructive network analysis (BRNA). BRNA is a collaboratively developed analytical procedure for social network data collection and analysis. During the BRNA data collection, both the biographical-narrative interview and ego-centric network maps are implemented. The BRNA data analysis procedure is informed by biographical reconstructive research principles to fully understand and reconstruct the dynamics of social networks during the life course.


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Author Biographies

Rosa Brandhorst, Universität Bielefeld

Dr Rosa BRANDHORST is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, and a research fellow at the Discipline Group of Anthropology and Sociology of the University of Western Australia. She holds a PhD in sociology from the Center of Methods in Social Sciences of the University of Goettingen. In her research, she focuses on interpretative methods of social research with specific expertise in reconstructive biographical research, multi-sited ethnography and method triangulations. She further uses qualitative methods to explore transnational migration and the intertwinement of migration, transnational family networks, aging and care. As a member of the Australian Research Council (ARC) project "Ageing and New Media: A New Analysis of Older Australians' Support Networks" team, BRANDHORST analyzed the changes in the composition of older migrants' support networks using participant observation, biographical research and qualitative network approaches.

Lukasz Krzyzowski, AGH University of Science and Technology

Dr Lukasz KRZYZOWSKI, assistant professor at the Department of Society and Technology Studies, AGH University in Kraków, and senior lecturer in anthropology and sociology at the University of Western Australia. Since his involvement in the "Transforming Migration: Transnational Transfer of Multicultural Habitus" (TRANSFORmIG project) at Humboldt University, he has been interested in social network analysis, creative methods, and social distance toward otherness in transnational social spaces. His fields of expertise are diversity, aging and migration, data science, social network analysis, and social technology development, including app development to empower marginalized groups, reducing social isolation, promoting empathy, intergroup learning and mutual understanding.




How to Cite

Brandhorst, R., & Krzyzowski, L. (2022). Biographical Reconstructive Network Analysis (BRNA): A Life Historical Approach in Social Network Analysis of Older Migrants in Australia. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(1).



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