Biographical statements are an important part of impressions management in the academic milieu. These statements provide an online presence, accompany our academic products, and represent us in the academy. This becomes a high stakes activity, which can be quite anxiety provoking. As a qualitative sociologist with a particular interest in auto/ biography, producing such a statement really ought to be easy - putting into words: who I am, what I do, and where I am currently located. However, writing sociological biographies requires a fine balance, particularly during the early career phase, when we may be juggling projects, research directions and institutions. An additional concern is that of selecting the appropriate “voice,” which of course can vary depending on the nature of the journal, conference, or other destination for the biography. In this article I draw on examples from my own autobiographical experiences to explore the dilemmas faced when constructing academic biographies.


Biography, Impressions Management, Sociology, Voice

Author Bio(s)

I am a Lecturer in Social Policy (Welsh medium) at Bangor University, Wales, funded by Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (the National Welsh-medium College). Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: s.wheeler@bangor.ac.uk.


No specific grants or other financial support were received for the research, authorship, and/ or publication of this article. However some of the events described in the vignettes were written whilst I was being funded as a research associate by the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD), and at the time of writing my lectureship is funded by Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, and I am based at Bangor University.

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