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Spain is one of the eight EU-27 countries that failed to reduce early school leaving (ESL) below 10% in 2020, and now faces the challenge of achieving a rate below 9% by 2030. The determinants of this phenomenon are usually studied using cross-sectional data at the micro level and without differentiation by gender. In this study, we analyse it for the first time for Spain using panel data (between 2002 and 2020), taking into account the high regional inequalities at the macroeconomic level and the masculinisation of the phenomenon. The results show a positive relationship between ESL and socio-economic variables such as the adolescent fertility rate, immigration, unemployment or the weight of the industrial and construction sectors in the regional economy, with significant gender differences that invite us to discuss educational policies. Surprisingly, youth unemployment has only small but significant impact on female ESL.

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While a vast number of studies confirm the transmission of labour-market disadvantages from one generation to the next, less is known about how parents’ interconnected labour-market pathways co-evolve and shape the opportunities and obstacles for their children’s future careers. This study uses a multidimensional view of intergenerational transmission by describing the most typical pathways of parents’ occupational careers and assesses how these patterns are associated with their children’s labour-market outcomes. Drawing on Swedish longitudinal register data, we used multichannel sequence analysis to follow a cohort of people born in 1985 (n = 72,409) and their parents across 26 years. We identified four parental earning models, differentiating between (1) dual earners with high wages, (2) dual earners with low-wage, (3) one-and-a-half-earners and (4) mother as the main breadwinner. Regression analysis shows strong intergenerational transmission among the most advantageous trajectories, with education as a key determinant for young people to become less dependent on family resources. This study stresses the importance of intra-couple perspectives in life course research to understand how inequalities are shaped and preserved across generations.

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This paper undertakes an analysis and discussion of the methodological challenges and insights derived from three longitudinal qualitative studies, all conducted in Chile during the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to comprehensive theoretical-methodological reflection processes centred on their respective designs. This analysis makes a significant contribution to interdisciplinary discussions within social research, with a particular emphasis on longitudinal trajectories.

First, we present a comparative analysis of three studies in social work, utilising Saldaña’s questions addressing changes and learning in longitudinal studies. The first study explores the labour trajectories of researchers, the second focuses on the educational trajectories of students, and the last examines therapeutic alliance trajectories between social workers and families within the child protection system.

Following this, we delve into the methodological decisions made by the research group during the execution of these longitudinal studies. This encompasses an examination of participant involvement, temporal definitions of the adopted designs, and the most suitable methodological tools for analysing change processes over time. The outcomes of this comparative analysis reveal the distinctive characteristics of the three longitudinal studies, providing insights into how the time dimension is explored within them. We highlight key criteria essential for consideration in longitudinal qualitative research, particularly regarding participants and methodology.

In conclusion, we advocate for an expanded reflection within the realm of longitudinal qualitative methodology, encompassing aspects such as design choices, approaches to data analysis, integration of technology in information processing, and strategies for maintaining participant engagement.

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The present text builds on an earlier publication* which had the same aim: namely, to encourage clarity and coherence in the interdisciplinary area we called social-to-biological transitions. This burgeoning area of research involves a complex workforce with differing career levels and disciplinary traditions, reflecting which the present authors comment from different perspectives (one author from each of early career research, epidemiology, biology and public health) and invite debate. (* Blane, D., Kelly-Irving, M., d’Errico, A., Bartley, M. and Montgomery, S. (2013) Social-biological transitions: how does the social become biological?, Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 4(2): 136–46.)

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Challenges and Opportunities for Creative Applications across Europe

What are the building blocks of the new societal architectures after COVID-19? What are the evolving lifestyle patterns, social connections and relationality, and what can biographical research bring to explore these unprecedented societal circumstances?

This first book in a new series "Advances in Biographical Research" focuses on the place of biographical research in analysing and shaping social futures characterized by physical distancing and isolation, social fragmentation, trauma and vulnerability, including breaks in biographical trajectories.

Written by experienced and early career researchers, it demonstrates how biographical research responds to new societal architectures: theoretically and empirically.

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Gender inequality is endemic in our society and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities between women and men in almost all areas of life, both in Europe and beyond, rolling back on progress of recent decades (European Commission 2021: 3). Emerging evidence since the onset of the pandemic shows that this has been acutely experienced by marginalised and minority groups, compelling researchers and policy makers to critically interrogate this ‘new social architecture’ and the notion that ‘we are all in this together equally’. This chapter reflects on two research projects that took place pre-pandemic utilising critical biographical research methodologies: the Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) for data collection and both the Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method and the Voice Centred Relational Method (VCRM) for analysis. We discuss two of the many valuable contributions of these methods: the Participant Structured Interview in BNIM which amplifies the voice and experience of the research participant; and how the VCRM and BNIM analysis facilitates the analyses of the biographical within the structural. We assert that critical biographical methodologies can make a significant contribution to the need to understand gender-based and intersectional inequalities in pandemic and post-pandemic times.

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