Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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The purpose of this essay is to examine the relationships between “the oral” and “the written” in a particular application of narrative research (life rendering research). First, we examine a functional and valuing contrast between oral and written language within oral history methods. Second, we present a critical examination of the use of these linguistic predispositions as they impact life history narratives. Next, we examine a particularly close analogy between oral history and psychiatric patient write-up. Finally, the historical oral/written tension located in oral history practice is located within the frameworks of newer, media-based literacies. The tensions that these intentions create are particularly acute in power-based relationships, such as those between interviewers and informants. Therefore, the organization of the paper is a series of issues that combine to form a critical look at the use of informants’ words in the written narratives of the oral history as a form of discourse synthesis (Spivey, 1997).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse synthesis; intertextuality; oral history
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