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Portrait Sara Eldén. Photo: Emma Lord.

Sara Eldén

Associate Professor | Director of Research Studies | Senior Lecturer

Portrait Sara Eldén. Photo: Emma Lord.

Researching materiality and children’s biographies


  • Sara Eldén
  • Hayley Davies

Summary, in English

Children’s biographies are only rarely and more recently considered. In this paper, we make a case for thinking biographically about children’s relational lives. Using two qualitative case studies from research with children in middle childhood, in the UK and Sweden, we attend to the materiality of children’s biographies. We explore the way in which home spaces, possessions, family mementoes and memories, photographs or gifts between loved ones mediate children’s biographies and close relationships in relation to ordinary as well as momentous occasions. We reflect upon how biographical data and the materialities of children’s lives may be captured in research with younger children considering that conventional biographical methods have been adult-centric. We wonder whether conventional biographical methods such as life-story or memory work are required for creating biographical data or whether having a biographical radar – and tuning into biographies - would be sufficient? What prompts this question is the vast amount of biographical data we have found in our own work, through undertaking research with young children. We have often found children to be natural narrators of their lives in drawing, writing, speaking and enacting their relationships. Therefore, can a researcher with a keen biographical interest capture biographical data in a whole range of ways through traditional and perhaps more creative research methods too?


  • Sociology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

Conference name

Congress of the European Society on Family Relations

Conference date

2018-09-05 - 2018-09-08

Conference place

Porto, Portugal




  • Care for children in an era of private market services: A study of nannies, children and parents
  • Relationer kring omsorg bortom familjen (FAS 2010-0505)