The life course cube, reconsidered

Publication Type Journal Article
Year of Publication 2020
Authors Bernardi, LHuinink, JSettersten, RA
Journal Advances in Life Course Research
Pagination 100357
Date Published 06/2020
ISSN 10402608
Abstract

In our article in a prior issue of Advances in Life Course Research, “The life course cube: A tool for studying lives” (Bernardi, Huinink, & Settersten, 2019), we introduced the “life course cube” as a “synthetic representation of the life course, in which the axes represent three dimensions of time, domains, and levels at which developmental, behavioral and societal process occur” (p. 2). We conceptualized the life course as a “multidimensional behavioral process” embedded in a societal environment and driven by psycho-physiological functioning inside the person. Within and between each of the three dimensions, characteristic interdependencies can be observed – which we called first, second, and third order interdependencies, and which create the extraordinary complexity of the human life course. We expressed our hope that the cube can serve as a point of departure for a virtual theory of life course and a foundation to guide the development of interdisciplinary life course research.

The paper on the life course cube was the lead article in a special issue entitled “Theoretical and Methodological Frontiers in Life Course Research,” which we edited and which contained five other primary papers. The issue included a collection of commentaries on the individual papers, sections, and the issue as a whole. These commentaries are especially important in fostering important dialogue about how to overcome the challenges of our field and providing an opportunity to clarify and enhance our model.

DOI 10.1016/j.alcr.2020.100357
Short Title Advances in Life Course Research