Journal issue 2 (2014)

OHS journal cover image

Borders

Volume: 42, Issue: 2 (2014)

Articles

Working across boundaries with oral history

With colleagues in Romania, Bulgaria and the UK, we crossed boundaries which were conceptual, geographical, linguistic, disciplinary and historical, as well as belief-based. Here, we summarise what has been learned from a multidisciplinary approach to a comparative oral history in the area of religion and ageing. In a project such as our own, crossing national boundaries which encompass very different histories and cultures, it was inevitable that we would be researching and writing with many voices, as well as languages. Drawing on oral history material generated during the project and on the reflections of our co-researchers, we address the difficult issue of competing interpretations of interview material; and especially in regard to conducting research on religion, reconciling the sometimes diverse perspectives of religious and non-religious researchers.
Author: Joanna Bornat and Daniela Koleva
Keywords: religion, belief, Bulgaria, Romania, secular

Doctors from ‘the end of the world’: oral history and New Zealand medical migrants, 1945-1975

In the two to three decades that followed the Second World War, approximately three-quarters of all New Zealand doctors, and up to ninety per cent of New Zealand medical specialists, travelled overseas for the purposes of obtaining post-graduate experience and qualifications. This article draws on oral history interviews to outline the network of international connections that New Zealand doctors used to obtain overseas training opportunities, and to examine the sense of outsiderness that many New Zealand doctors described as a motivating force during their medical careers.
Author: John Armstrong
Keywords: migration; New Zealand; doctors; twentieth century

The human voice and the texture of experience

This article explores the representation of the voice in texts about oral history over the years, arguing that too often it has been seen as a mechanism for retrieving otherwise inaccessible testimony rather than as a rich medium in its own right. Such a stance, however, is being modified, it suggests, as new digital technologies develop the potential to breach the chasm between the oral and the written.
Author: Anne Karpf
Keywords: voice, oral history, orality, transcription, digitisation

Reframing NHS history: visual sources in a study of UK-based migrant doctors

This paper explores the significance of two types of visual material gathered in the course of an oral history project on the role of South Asian doctors in the development of British general practice from the 1940s to the 1980s. Participants were asked to pose for portraits that they staged themselves. Copies were also made of documents belonging to them. The data gathered points to the need to engage with the role of medical migration as central to – rather than being on the margins of – the history of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). This should invite not just a reframing of our understanding of the NHS, but also a wider reflection on the production of histories of immigration and their social function.
Author: Julian M Simpson
Keywords: oral history, photography, South Asian, NHS, international medical graduates

Alienation and rush towards change: introducing capitalism to a state-owned Polish enterprise

This article draws upon a series of interviews with (mostly) retired managers of a well-known Warsaw chocolate factory (E. Wedel) as well as an analysis of multiple documents related to the privatisation process. It presents interpretations of the privatisation of Wedel in the early 1990s from the perspectives of today’s managers. Wedel was among the first firms to enter the stock exchange and arguably the first to cooperate with a foreign investor. The analysis seeks to reconstruct meanings ascribed to ownership transformation through reflexive biographical accounts of the managers and identity work related to participation in the privatisation processes. It highlights tensions between striving to be an agent – an active participant in change – and the sense of being left out of the main course of events. Managers are by definition those in control and this article explores the processes leading to their loss of control.
Author: Karolina Mikołajewska
Keywords: managers’ biographies; history of industry; privatisation; state-owned enterprise; multinational corporations

The uncomfortable path from forestry to tourism in Kielder, Northumberland: a socially dichotomous village?

Kielder in Northumberland is England’s remotest village. From sheep-farming to commercial forestry to the creation of Kielder Reservoir, the villagers have witnessed successive dramatic environmental changes. This article is based on the Kielder Oral History Project, comprising thirty-six interviews conducted by the author in October 2012. Few interviewees recall the valley before the advent of forestry in the 1920s, but most have strong opinions regarding the 250,000 tourists who visit Kielder for recreational purposes each year. Many original forestry villagers now live side by side with newcomers who have moved to the area from far afield to change their lifestyles by moving to a perceived idyllic, tranquil and natural landscape boasting a strong community spirit. This article explains the marked social dichotomy between these groups.
Author: Leona Jayne Skelton
Keywords: Kielder, forestry, tourism, environment, community

Reflections

Looking for trouble: exploring emotion, memory and public sociology. Inaugural lecture, 1 May 2014, London Metropolitan University

This article is a verbatim record of an inaugural lecture, reflecting on twenty years of working at one university. In this lecture, I discuss the ways in which academic inquiry, teaching and community engagement have been linked in specific oral history projects. I focus on opportunities for working across disciplinary boundaries. I discuss culturalist understandings of emotion and memory and their implications for oral history research.
Author: Jenny Harding
Keywords: emotion, memory, oral history, public sociology, cultural studies

Reviews

Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend

Author: Alistair Thomson

Gulag Voices: Oral Histories of Soviet Incarceration and Exile

Author: Jehanne M Gheith and Katherine R Jolluck (eds)

Oral History, Community and Displacement: Imagining Memories in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Author: Sean Field

Ageing, Ritual and Social Change: Comparing the Secular and Religious in Eastern and Western Europe

Author: Peter Coleman, Daniela Koleva and Joanna Bornat (eds)

Computers in Swedish Society: Documenting Early Use and Trends

Author: Per Lundin; Portobello Voices, Blanche Girouard

Oral Literature in the Digital Age: Archiving Orality and Connecting with Communities

Author: Mark Turin, Claire Wheeler and Eleanor Wilkinson (eds)

Dedicated to God: An Oral History of Cloistered Nuns

Author: Abbie Reese

Death and the Migrant: Bodies, Border and Care

Author: Yasmin Gunaratnam