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Narrating our Pasts: The Social Construction of Oral History - Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture (Paperback)
  • Narrating our Pasts: The Social Construction of Oral History - Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture (Paperback)
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Narrating our Pasts: The Social Construction of Oral History - Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture (Paperback)

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£37.99
Paperback 192 Pages / Published: 13/04/1995
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This study looks at how oral histories are constructed and how they should be interpreted, and argues for a deeper understanding of their oral and social characteristics. Oral accounts of past events are also guides to the future, as well as being social activities in which tellers claim authority to speak to particular audiences. Like written history and literature, orality has its shaping genres and aesthetic conventions and, likewise, has to be interpreted through them. The argument is illustrated through a wide range of examples of memory, narration and oral tradition, including many from Europe and the Americas, and with a particular focus on oral histories from the Jlao Kru of Liberia, with whom Elizabeth Tonkin has carried out extensive research. Tonkin also draws on and integrates the insights of a range of other disciplines, such as literary criticism, linguistics, history, psychology, and communication and cultural studies.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521484633
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 290 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 11 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'... this is a very thoughtful and delightful work, carefully argued, the fruit of wide reading and sustained thought ... It is also a delight to read.' Anthropos
'[An] excellent, stimulating and innovative book ... [Tonkin] presents a new way of looking at oral history and also a theoretical discussion on the very nature of oral tradition.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
'This is a timely book. It brings together matters of current interest in recent works on memory, ethnohistory and orality, and it attempts to synthesise a fruitful approach to a complex body of material ... [It] is suggestive, thought-provoking and never dull. It points throughout towards novel avenues of thought and interesting angles on a fascinating collection of oral and literary sources. It is certainly a book which serious students of oral genres should have on their book-shelves.' The Times Literary Supplement
"Tonkin provides a lucid discussion of how oral history is constructed....the strengths of the book are many....numerous illustrative examples from predominantly oral cultures in Africa as well as from industrialized Europe and America....perhaps the most significant feature of the book is its unified approach." Anthropological Linguistics
"...this is a very thoughtful and delightful work, carefully argued, the fruit of wide reading and sustained thought....It is also a delight to read." Anthropos
"...provocative, yet offered in an uncommonly unpretentious and engaging fashion. Her work is a welcome addition to the declining number of full-scale interpretations of oral historiography, by whatever name, and, although addressed primarily to anthropologists, it is worth historians' close attention as well." David Henige, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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