Welcome to the Auto/Biography Study Group

The Auto/Biography Study Group brings together people interested in the analytical examination of the various kinds of biography and autobiography, the interrelations between biography, autobiography, text and lives, and the relationship between the differing genres of representing lives. The forward slash in auto/biography denotes the critical interrelationship between the self and the other, the private and public.

The Auto/Biography Study Group is a wonderful academic community and we are delighted to welcome you as either an associate or paid member. See the Join Us tab.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

Best wishes
Anne Chappell and Carly Stewart

The Auto/Biography Study Group

The group was established in 1992 when David Morgan and Liz Stanley convened a conference in January entitled ‘Auto/Biography in Sociology’. This was followed in October the same year when the first 'Auto/Biography' Bulletin for the group was published. In the Bulletin, auto/biography was described as:


"…the activity of attempting to render a succession of narrative moments relating to a life in such a way as to make them comprehensible to others, who in turn may complement or alter them and so become part of the auto/biographical project… Additionally, the term auto/biography demonstrates an alacrity to recognise that all biography has some impression of the biographer upon it and that no autobiography can be produced by an individual entirely ungoverned by the social. Auto/Biographies… highlight the movement between the subjective and the objective… and in doing so provide a textual space for the problem to be played out and commented upon" (Erben, Morgan and Stanley, 1992: 1-2).


There followed a special issue of the BSA’s journal Sociology in 1993 focussing on auto/biography. Subsequently, the group has continued to publish a multitude of literature (bulletins, journals and monographs) as well as convening regular international conferences. The long-standing hard work and commitment of a number of colleagues, particularly Jenny Byrne, Gill Clarke, Michael Erben and Andrew Sparkes has been key to the group’s development and longevity, and the maintenance of a rich and inclusive academic community.  The current convenors are Anne Chappell and Carly Stewart.

Over the last three decades, since its inception, the group has sustained a vibrant and supportive academic space for the examination of the "theory of auto/
biography, the practice of auto/biography and the activities of auto/biographers" (Erben, Morgan and Stanley, 1992: 2). As Michael recently stated:


"A consciousness of the notion of narrative (of ways the ineluctable nature of time plays itself out in lives) and the exploration of that complex filigree of places and spaces represented by the interplay of structure and agency have been central to the Study Group’s research mission. As such, the intricacies of lives in social context remain as fascinating now as they have always been" (Erben, 2020: x).



Erben, M. (2020) Foreword, in Parsons, J.M. and Chappell, A. (2020) The Palgrave Handbook of Auto/Biography. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Erben, M., Morgan, D. H. J., and Stanley, L. (1992). Editorial, Auto/Biography, 1 (1): 1–9.