The authors present and discuss their latest academic findings from the extensive research carried out at the Department of Sociology in articles in national and international journals, books, contributions in edited volumes, working papers, etc.

Court Files as Data in Sociological Family Research

Viktoria Parisot, Marlies Zuccato-Doutlik, Ulrike Zartler

In methodical terms, court files have barely been developed as data material for qualitative social research. In the present paper, we explore the methodology and methods associated with court files as data employed in sociological family research. Based on a survey of 70 divorce and guardianship files from the years 1976 to 2019, we discuss three methodological key areas in research with family court files: 1. We examine epistemological aspects from the perspective of a praxeological sociology of the family; 2. we analyze gatekeeping processes and other aspects of research practice with regard to field access and data collection; and 3. we review the unit of analysis of court files. Proceeding from this discussion, we propose a new methodical approach for the qualitative analysis of records in sociological family research: the multiple case study from a praxeological discourse-analytical perspective, by means of which court files can be explored as an intersection between law and the family. In analytical terms, we ask by, with and for whom family court files are produced. The proposed methodical approach makes it possible to consider family court files as both produced by and themselves producing a process of undoing family. We finally advocate a pragmatically oriented methodological approach. The diversity of qualitative methodology can thus become a seminal basis for the further development of court files as a data source.

Department of Sociology
Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
504011 Genealogy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Social Sciences(all)
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