Jaber F. Gubrium
Professor Emeritus
Research and Teaching

The working premise of my research program is that no system of social rules is robust enough to understand its everyday application.  Areas of study informed by this are aging and the life course, health and illness, human service organizations, constructions of family, institutional selves, and narrative analysis.  Applying a critical constructionism, the goal is to make visible the assemblages of meaning that rationalization erases.  Centered on the comparative ethnography of human service settings, I continue to explore and document novelty and pattern in troubles/problems reflexivity within the framework of what Erving Goffman called the "interaction order" and in tandem with a concertedly local brand of Michel Foucault's concept of "discursive practice." I am also founding and continuing editor of the Journal of Aging Studies.

As for teaching, I offer courses in several substantive areas, including self and society, the sociology of troubles, aging and the life course, illness and caregiving, constructions of family, and institutional identity. I lead methodology seminars on constructionist social inquiry, qualitative methods, interview theory and technique, ethnographic fieldwork, and narrative analysis.

The selected publications listed below are organized by substantive areas of the program.  These have ranged from ethnographic studies of human service settings across the life course, to deconstructions of and research on aging, dementia, caregiving, family as a social form, and institutional identities.  For the convenience of those interested, links are provided to specific items. 

Awards and Honors: 

Honorary Doctorate (honoris causa), Faculty of Social Science, Lund University, Sweden, June 2017

Named a "Top Faculty Achiever," University of Missouri, April, 2017

Leiv Eiriksson Fellowship, Oslo University of Applied Sciences, 2012-13

Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award, Gerontological Society of America, 2000

Distinguished Scholar Award, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 1999

University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship, 1999-2001

Distinguished Scholar Award, American Sociological Association, Section on Aging, 1996

Fulbright Fellowship, Tampere University, Finland, 1996

Alfreda Kartha Distinguished Lectureship, University of Toronto, Queen's University, and University of Ottawa, Canada 1996

Samuel Weiner Distinguished Scholar, University of Manitoba, Canada, 1995

Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award, Gerontological Society of America, awarded for the monograph Speaking of Life: Horizons of Meaning for Nursing Home Residents (Aldine de Gruyter), 1994  

Named a "Top 100 Researcher of the University," University of Florida, 1991

Distinguished Mentorship Award, Gerontological Society of America, 1991

Fellow, Gerontological Society of America, 1978

Select Publications

Recent Publication

Analyzing Novelty and Pattern in Institutional Life Narratives.” 2017. Chapter 11 in International Handbook of Narrative and Life History, edited by Ivor Goodson et al.  London: Routledge, pp. 156-166

Reimagining the Human Service Relationship. 2016. New York: Columbia University Press

"Benchmarking the End of Life in Long-Term Care." 2015. Chapter 3 in Communication at the End of Life, edited by Jon F. Nussbaum, Howard Giles, and Amber K. Worthington.  New York: Peter Lang, pp. 43-60. 

Turning Troubles into Problems: Clientization in Human Services. 2014. London: Routledge

Analytic Inspiration in Ethnographic Fieldwork.” 2014. Chapter 3 in SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis, edited by Uwe Flick. London: Sage, pp. 35-48

Human Service Ethnographies

Speaking of Life: Horizons of Meaning for Nursing Home Residents. 1993. New York: Aldine de Gruyter

Out of Control: Family Therapy and Domestic Disorder. 1992. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

The Mosaic of Care: Frail Elderly and their Families in the Real World. 1991. New York: Springer

Oldtimers and Alzheimer’s: The Descriptive Organization of Senility. 1986. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press

Describing Care: Image and Practice in Rehabilitation. 1982. Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain

Caretakers: Treating Emotionally Disturbed Children. 1979. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Living and Dying at Murray Manor. 1975/1995. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press

Aging and the Life Course

"Narrative Events and Biographical Construction in Old Age." 2011. Chapter 3 in Storying Later Life, edited by Gary Kenyon, Ernst Bohlmeijer, and William Randall. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 39-50 

"The Life Course." 2003. Chapter 34 in Handbook of Symbolic Interactionism, edited by Larry T. Reynolds and Nancy J. Herman-Kinney.  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 837-856.

Ways of Aging. 2003. Malden, MA. Blackwell

"The Everyday Visibility of the Aging Body." 2003. Chapter 7 in Aging Bodies: Images & Everyday Experience, edited by Christopher A. Faircloth. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, pp. 205-228 

"The Active Subject in Qualitative Gerontology." 2002. Chapter 8 in Qualitative Gerontology, 2nd edition, edited by Graham Rowles and Nancy Schoenberg. New York: Springer, pp. 154-171

"Narrative, Experience, and Aging ." 2001. Chapter 2 in Narrative Gerontology: Theory, Research, and Practice, edited by Gary Kenyon, Phillip Clark, and Brian de Vries. New York: Springer, pp. 19-30.

Aging and Everyday Life. 2000. Malden, MA: Blackwell

Constructing the Life Course. 2000. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield

"The Nursing Home as a Discursive Anchor for the Ageing Body." 1999. Ageing and Society, vol. 19, pp. 519-538 

"Life Course Malleability: Biographical Work and Deprivatization." 1995. Sociological Inquiry, vol. 65, pp. 207-223

"Voice and Context in a New Gerontology." 1993.  Chapter 3 in Voices and Visions of Aging: Toward a Critical Gerontology, edited by Thomas R. Cole, W. Andrew Achenbaum, Patricia L Jacobi, and Robert Kastenbaum. New York: Springer, pp. 46-63

The Mosaic of Care: Frail Elderly and their Families in the Real World. 1991. New York: Springer.

Who Theorizes Age?” 1990. Ageing and Society, vol. 10, pp. 131-149

Rethinking Life Satisfaction.” 1983. Human Organization, vol. 42, pp. 30-38

Constructions of Family and Domestic Life

"Theoretical Validity and Empirical Utility of a Constructionist Analytics." 2012. The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 53, pp. 341-359.

Couples, Kids, and Family Life. 2005. New York: Oxford University Press

"Deprivatization and the Construction of Domestic Life. 1995. Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 57, pp. 894-908.

"Family Discourse, Organizational Embeddedness, and Local Enactment." 1993. Journal of Family Issues, vol. 14, pp. 66-81

"Phenomenology, Ethnomethodology, and Family Discourse." 1993. Chapter 25 in Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methods, edited by Pauline G. Boss, William J. Doherty, Ralph LaRossa, Walter R. Schumm, and Suzanne K. Steinmetz. New York: Plenum, pp. 651-675 

What is Family?. 1990. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield

"Family as Project." 1988. Sociological Review, vol. 36, pp. 273-295

The Private Image: Experiential Location and Method in Family Studies.” 1987. Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 19, pp. 773-786   

Family Rhetoric as Social Order.” 1985. Journal of Family Issues, vol. 6, pp. 129-152

Fictive Family: Everyday Usage, Analytic, and Human Service Considerations.” 1982. American Anthropologist, vol. 84, pp. 878-885

Stroke, Dementia (AD), and Caregiving

"Benchmarking as Everyday Functional Assessment in Stroke Recovery." 2003. Journal of Gerontology, vol. 58B, pp. S203-S211

"Narrative Practice and the Inner Worlds of the Alzheimer's Disease Experience." 2000.  Chapter 10 in Concepts of Alzheimer's Disease: Biological, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives, edited by Peter J. Whitehouse, Konrad Maurer, and Jesse F. Ballenger. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 181-203

"Emotion Work and Emotive Discourse in the Alzheimer's Disease Experience." 1989. Current Perpectives on Aging and the Life Cycle, vol. 3.  Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, pp. 243-268

"Family Responsibility and Caregiving in the Qualitative Analysis of the Alzheimer’s Disease Experience." 1988. Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 50, pp. 197-208

"Incommunicables and Poetic Documentation in the Alzheimer’s Disease Experience.." 1988. Semiotica, vol. 72, pp. 235-254

Structuring and Destructuring the Course of Illness: The Alzheimer’s Disease Experience.” 1987. Sociology of Health & Illness, vol. 3, pp. 1-24

Measurement and the Interpretation of Burden in the Alzheimer’s Disease Experience.” 1987. Journal of Aging Studies, vol.1, pp. 265-285

"The Social Preservation of Mind: The Alzheimer’s Disease Experience." 1986. Symbolic Interaction, vol. 9, pp. 37-51

"Therapeutic Pretense in Reality Orientation." 1983. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, vol. 16, pp. 167-181

"Doing Care Plans in Patient Conferences." 1981.  Social Science & Medicine, vol 14A, pp. 659-667

"Notes on the Social Organization of Senility." 1978. Urban Life (now the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography), vol. 7, pp. 23-44

Narrative Practice, Interviews, and Ethnography

SAGE Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft, 2nd Edition. 2012. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Narrative Practice and the Transformation of Interview Subjectivity.” 2012. Chapter 2 in SAGE Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium, James A. Holstein, Amir B. Marvasti, and Karyn D. McKinney.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 27-43  

"Introduction: The Complexity of the Craft." 2012. In SAGE Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium, James A. Holstein, Amir B. Marvasti, and Karyn D. McKinney. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp;. 1-5.

Varieties of Narrative Analysis. 2012. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Analyzing Narrative Reality. 2009. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

"How Murray Manor Became an Ethnography." 2009.  Chapter 7 in Ethnographies Revisited: Constructing Theory in the Field, edied by Antony Puddephatt, William Shaffir, and Steven W. Kleinknecht. New York: Routledge, pp. 121-133.

"Constructionist Impulses in Ethnographic Fieldwork." 2008. Chapter 19 in Handbook of Constructionist Research, edited by James A. Holstein & Jaber F. Gubrium. New York: Guilford, pp. 373-396.

Narrative Ethnography.”  2008. Chapter 12 in Handbook of Emergent Methods, edited by Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Patricia Leavy.  New York: Guilford, pp. 241-264

"Urban Ethnography of the 1920s Working Girl." 2007. Gender, Work & Organizations, vol 14, pp. 232-258.

"Narrative Environments and Social Problems." 2005. Social Problems, vol. 52, pp. 525-528

"Context: Working it Up, Down, and Across." 2004.  Chapter 19 in Qualitative Research Practice, edited by Clive Seale et al.  London: Sage, pp. 297-311.

Inside Interviewing. 2003. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Postmodern Interviewing. 2003. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

"What is a Good Story?" 2003. Generations, vol. 26, pp. 21-24 

Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method. 2002. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

"From the Individual Interview to the Interview Society." 2002. Chapter 1 in Handbook of Interview Research, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein.  Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage, pp. 2-32.

"Narrative Practice and the Coherence of Personal Stories." 1998. The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 39, pp. 163-187

The New Language of Qualitative Method. 1997. New York: Oxford University Press

The Active Interview. 1995.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

"For a Cautious Naturalism." 1993. Chapter 4 in Reconsidering Social Constructionism, edited by James A. Holstein and Gale Miller. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, pp. 89-102

Analyzing Field Reality. 1988. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage 

Selves, Troubles, and Human Service Institutions

"Preface." 2016. Reimagining the Human Service Relationship. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. xi-xiv. 

"From the Iron Cage to Everyday Life." 2016. Chapter 1 in Reimagining the Human Service Relationship, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium, Tone Alm Andreassen, and Per Koren Solvang. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 3-32. 

"Troubles, Problems, and Clientization." 2014. Chapter 1 in Turning Troubles into Problems: Clientization in Human Services, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium and Margaretha Järvinen. London: Routledge, pp. 1-14.

"The Everyday Work and Auspices of Authenticity." 2009. Chapter 8 in Authenticity in Culture, Self, and Society, edited by Phillip Vannini and Patrick Williams. United Kingdom, Ashgate, pp. 121-138.  

"Inner Lives and Social Worlds." 2003. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Self in a World of Going Concerns.” 2000. Symbolic Interaction, vol. 23, pp. 95-115.

Grounding the Postmodern Self.” 1994. The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 35, pp. 685-703.

Individual Agency, the Ordinary, and Postmodern Life.” 1995. The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 36, pp. 555-570.

The Self We Live By: Narrative Identity in a Postmodern World. 2000. New York: Oxford University Press.

Institutional Selves: Troubled Identities in a Postmodern World. 2001. New York: Oxford University Press.

"Descriptive Tyranny of Forms." 1989. Pp. 195-214 in Perspectives on Social Problems, vol. 1, edited by James A. Holstein & Gale Miller. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press

"Practicing Accountability in Human Service Institutions." 1983. Urban Life (now the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography), vol. 12, pp. 249-268

"The Underlife of Behavior Modification." 1980. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 50, pp. 279-290

"Doing Staffings." 1979. Human Organization, vol. 38, pp. 255-264

"Production of Hard Data in Human Service Institutions." 1979. Pacific Sociological Review, vol. 22, pp. 115-136 

"Death Worlds in a Nursing Home." 1975. Urban Life (now the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography), vol. 4, pp. 317-338.