Working the When, Where, and Who of Social Context: The Case of a Traumatic Injury Narrative

Cassandra Phoenix, Andrea Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)
159 Downloads (Pure)


Within qualitative research it is widely recognised that context matters. Despite this, in recent years a number of authors have observed a lack of contextual awareness in qualitative analysis. The purpose of this article is to analyse categorically and holisti- cally the process of meaning making in relation to context using data generated during a series of interviews with an individual who encountered a chronic back injury. Drawing upon the work of Holstein and Gubrium (2004), we focus on questions of when and where to illustrate the locally unarticulated contextual alternatives that can come into play at specific times and places. In addition, we raise questions pertaining to who as a means of further understanding the significance of others in relation to the participant’s experiences. In doing so, we illuminate the ways in which different con- texts can shape the meaning of injury. After discussing the inherent problems associ- ated with studying the notion of context, we close by suggesting that examining the ways that context might operate throughout the process of meaning making can be a useful analytical tool for qualitative researchers working within the domain of psychology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-155
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date1 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • context; injury; narrative


Dive into the research topics of 'Working the When, Where, and Who of Social Context: The Case of a Traumatic Injury Narrative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this