Constructing careers through narrative and music: an analysis of Desert Island Discs

Laurie Cohen, Joanne Duberley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The generation of brand new data seems to be an unwritten rule of much social research and the career field is no exception. However, in these austere economic times, we need to urgently reconsider our research norms and to think of creative ways of doing more for less. We would argue that given the ‘ordinariness’ of the career concept and hence the ubiquity of career stories in the public domain, for career researchers there are many sources of data which have yet to be explored. One such source is Desert Island Discs, a UK BBC program which was first broadcast in 1942 and has been on air weekly ever since. For a career researcher, Desert Island Discs provides extensive insights into people's career lifeworlds that are all the more fascinating because they are unsullied by the researcher's own agenda. In this paper we investigate what Desert Island Disc data can teach us about the performative dimension of career and critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using publicly available datasets from popular culture in career research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)165-175
    JournalJournal of Vocational Behaviour
    Issue number3
    Early online date31 Jan 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


    • Careers
    • Performativity
    • Career legitimacy
    • Career narratives
    • Popular culture


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