The article concisely presents the conceptual framework and terminology of life course sociology as well as one of the basic quantitative methods applied in this field, event history analysis. This method permits analyzing the dynamics in the life course of individuals at various life transition points connected with their participation in various spheres of public life (education, work, family life, etc.). One of the strong points of the method is the possibility it offers of incorporating various forms of activeness displayed by individuals making life transitions, and the possibility of assessing the impact of activeness on these transitions. The use of event analysis is illustrated in the article through the results of a study of young people leaving the parental home in Bulgaria.
Research on the demographic foundations of family change has drawn attention to multiple ways of how the developments in mortality, fertility and related processes produce major shifts in the family structures. The present study, conducted in the framework of FP7 Multilinks project, aims to complement research on the topic by analyzing the data from the Generations and Gender Survey for seven countries of Europe. In the study, the evidence concerning availability of kin above (parents and grandparents) and below (children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren) the reference generation is combined to highlight the patterns of family structure in which individuals are embedded at various stages of the life course. The results cast light on the ways how the existing diversity in demographic regimes comes together into specific patterns of intergenerational structures across Europe. The analysis reveals that the patterning of these structures is not always straightforward. The variation in generational distance set by the timing of childbearing, and differential advances in longevity produce combinations that may leave the countries with highly contrasting demographic history with a closely similar vertical “depth” of the family constellation. The results also indicate a possibility that under certain demographic scenarios, the secular trends towards vertical extension of the family constellation may become to a halt or even reverse temporarily.