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Retrospective reflexivity: The residual and subliminal repercussions of researching war
University of New South Wales.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6802-0540
2015 (English)In: Emotion, Space and Society, ISSN 1755-4586, E-ISSN 1878-0040, no 0Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Stories of the war have been a known part of my story as granddaughter of Polish post-war migrants. Yet venturing into these stories as researcher has been troubling; I found their closeness and their raw emotion difficult to process. Significant sections of my interview schedules entailed participants recounting their own, their parents' or their grandparents' stories of war and migration, with traumatic episodes frequently intersecting into their stories. As a researcher, these traumatic narratives have had a residual quality, lasting in my subconscious long after the interviews themselves and doctorate for which they were conducted had finished. In this paper, I focus on experiences of, and reactions to listening to, analysing and writing about these traumatic cultural memories. Collins (1998: 3.35) has observed that ‘the emotions experienced, whether by the interviewer or interviewee, are as real, as important and as interesting as any other product of the interview’; my powerfully felt experiences with traumatic content have validated this sentiment. With a retrospective reflexivity I now realise that these cultural memories were not the only ‘product’ of my research, but that how they were narrated and how I dealt with them were also a significant part of the research process, and indeed stories in themselves. Here I attempt to retell how these stories impacted me as the researcher; how in the case of particularly harrowing stories, I also needed time to absorb the narratives, to comprehend the participant's experiences and their ability to narrate such stories, and to recover from the experience of listening to such accounts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. no 0
Keywords [en]
Retrospective reflexivity, Cultural memory, Narrative, War, Trauma
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161626OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161626DiVA, id: diva2:1260424
Available from: 2018-11-02 Created: 2018-11-02 Last updated: 2018-11-02

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