The 'second chance' is a ubiquitous concept on the cultural landscape. One cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on a television, sit in a movie theater, or read a blog without encountering a story of someone who has erred, strayed, failed, or suffered great misfortune being given (or having earned) the opportunity to start their lives, careers, or relationships over. But just exactly what 'starting over' means and whether it is an opportunity equally available to all is not altogether clear. Surprisingly, systematic empirical examination of this important concept has largely been absent in social scientific research. In this project, I will address this deficiency by providing a detailed exploratory analysis of the cultural, institutional, and interpersonal contexts of 'second chances' in everyday life.