Prompt and circumstance: the generative contexts of personal projects analysis
I want to discuss the circumstances that prompted the development of personal projects analysis as a line of inquiry and how these influences shaped this book. In a sense I want to examine the personal projects underlying personal projects, but how best to go about this? I could summarize the theoretical and empirical articles written over the past three decades, but that would be redundant with published re-views on how the concept of personal projects applies to areas such as personality and environment (Little, 1983,1987b, 2000a), life-span development (Little, 1987a, 1999a), studies of the self and identity (Little, 1993), and clinical diagnosis and counseling (Little & Chambers, 2000, 2004). Alternatively, I could reconstruct a chronology of the orderly sequence through which the concept, beginning in the late 1960s, developed over the years, framing it as the inexorable progression of a compelling logic. However, that would be misleading. In reality, as with many protracted intellectual endeavors, the development of projects analysis and the coming together of this volume were, in many ways, the products of fortuitous prompts, chance encounters, productive misunderstandings, and inchoate ideas wrestled into coherence, sometimes 4decades after their initial impetus. So another type of introduction is required, one that has not been written before but that provides a sequential and reasonably coherent account of the personal projects perspective.