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Memory and Society
Volume: 32, Issue: 2 (2004)
Individual Remembering and 'Collective Memory': Theoretical Presuppositions and Contemporary Debates
Over the past decade cultural historians have focussed upon 'collective memory', drawing upon the original theories of sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. The conceptualisation of memory in this body of work either conflates collective and individual memory, or relegates the latter to a position of insignificance. Meanwhile oral historians are increasingly focusing upon the ways in which individual recollections fit (often unconscious) cultural scripts or mental templates. As a consequence, the interpretative theories of oral history and collective memory studies are converging. The paper argues that if oral historians reject the capacity of individuals to engage critically and constructively with inherited ideas and beliefs, the field has made a paradigmatic shift from the concerns and values that led to its growth and development in the 1960s.
Author(s): Anna Green
Keywords: collective memory; individual memory; cultural scripts; psycho-analytic templates

Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay: Farm Practices, Oral History and Nature Conservation
This article considers the value of oral history to today's discussions of nature conservation. It shows how the intimate knowledge which farmers have of their farms and past practices can complement sparse data sources on hay meadow decline and change. On another level the oral histories challenge official narratives of the move from hay to silage production and consider how traditional' the prescriptions of current conservation schemes are. The article uncovers the often underplayed significance of 'community' and non-financial considerations which impact on farming practice. The article concludes that with current mandates to revert to more traditional land management oral history can make a valuable contribution to the future conservation of the British countryside.
Author(s): Mark Riley
Keywords: Environmental history; hay meadows; agriculture; farming practices; nature conservation

Talking about Museums: The Insider's Voice
This paper describes a pilot project to record the reminiscences of some twenty senior museum curators, apparently the first significant use of oral history in studying the history of museums as institutions and cultural players. The aim of the project was to identify the major changes in the museums sector in the UK over the past generation, in order to help predict future trends. The methodology used is discussed in relation both to the project's aims, and to the role of oral history in researching the history of professions. Some of the issues raised by the interviewers - including the vastly greater popularity of museums, the decline of the curator and of scholarship, the impact of 'managerialism' - are discussed and related to the particular perspective of the interviewees.
Author(s): Stuart Davies and Crispin Paine
Keywords: museum; profession; oral history; curator; management

Cure, Superstition, Infection and Reaction: Tuberculosis in Ireland, 1932-1957
In 1932, Ireland had one of the worst tuberculosis death rates in the world. Many people, particularly in country districts, were frightened to even talk about the disease and the government was reluctant either to admit there was a problem or to take any action. This article looks at how people coped with a disease with no real cure in a developing country with an inadequate health service. It assesses the importance of oral history as a medium for research and attempts to establish whether the stigma of the disease was a major factor in people's perceptions and attitudes towards it. From this sample it seems the people who were least stigmatized by tuberculosis are those most likely to speak of their experience.
Author(s): Simon Guest
Keywords: tuberculosis; Ireland, stigma; Noel Browne; health service.

Scotland and 'The Coalition for Justice Not War' March, Glasgow, 15 February 2003
This article describes the audio recording of an actual event, The Coalition for Justice not War' march which was held in Glasgow on 15 February 2003 as part of a world-wide demonstration against the possibility of war in Iraq. The authors describe how they attempted to record a cross-section of marchers' views of the political situation and their reasons for participating. In recording an event as it happened were the authors involved in oral history or in journalism? The authors argue the case for the former, basing their case in the distinction between oral history as an activity which seeks to record and interpret what is happening through direct involvement in contrast with journalism's preference for detachment and immediacy.
Author(s): Neil Rafeek, Angela Bartie and Hilary Young
Keywords: War; Iraq; Glasgow; march; interviews

Public History
Tales from the Sea: Oral History in British Maritime Museums
Maritime history, as represented in British museums and heritage sites, has traditionally been based on celebratory and often elitist visions. The use of oral history has, in some cases, helped to provide a more democratic and encompassing approach by such museums. Personal testimonies are presented in a range of formats, such as listening posts, textboards or looped tapes. In addition, some museum displays have been shaped through the use of oral tradition and the reminiscences of those people who are being represented. The aim is to enhance the visitor experience and to preserve particular aspects of British maritime history. This survey will attempt to evaluate the contribution of oral history to the presentation of maritime history for audiences in Britain.
Author(s): Ann Day and Ken Lunn
Keywords: maritime history; oral history; oral tradition; maritime museums; heritage sites

Small and Recent Sources of Project Funding
Author(s): Robert Wilkinson

The Order Has Been Carried out: History, Memory, and Meaning of a Nazi Massacre in Rome
Author(s): Alessandro Portelli

Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide
Author(s): Donald A. Ritchie

Biographical Research
Author(s): Brian Roberts

Mapping Memories: Reminiscence with Ethnic Minority Elders
Author(s): Pam Schweitzer

"It's Living History, Isn't It?"
Author(s): Gillian Holman, Peter Monkcom