Oral History Methodology


This case study offers a practical guide to oral history methodology. It partly draws on a series of interviews I conducted for a British Academy–financed project, which explored traditional perspectives on a decade of intense political violence in Italy: the 1970s. Many of the positive developments and achievements in those years have been ‘silenced’ by dominant, official narratives of this decade. Through recurrence to oral history methodology, a vital tool in the understanding of the intersections between the private and the public, I created a more complex and inclusive history of the women's movement in the 1970s. The case study starts with a historical outline of the advent of oral history research in Western society, its strengths and its weaknesses, before it moves to a practical exploration of oral history methodology. It explains how to set up an oral history project, how to conduct interviews and what legal concerns to keep in mind. It also provides details on recording equipment and discusses a number of potential outputs of oral history data.

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