Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 121–134 | Cite as

Fate and Agency in Job Loss Narratives

  • Douglas Ezzy


While sociologists have emphasized the social sources of autobiographical narratives, there has been relatively little sociological reflection on the way that autobiographers themselves make selective use of accounts of social forces and pressures to explain their actions. This paper examines the way individuals' use of social pressures as explanations of their behavior are related to the structure of autobiographical narratives as a whole. The paper draws on empirical examples from interviews with people who are unemployed. Focusing on heroic and tragic narrative structures, I argue that the overall narrative structure is shaped by a number of factors, including the events of historical experience, the rhetorical intention of the autobiographer, and the structuring effects of social location.

narrative biography unemployment agency 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Ezzy
    • 1
  1. 1.SociologyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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