Download Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy by Christopher N. Poulos PDF

By Christopher N. Poulos

Every one kinfolk has its secrets and techniques, ones that form family members communique and relationships in a manner often unknown to the outsider and infrequently the relatives itself. Autoethnographers, scholars of those relationships, confront many silences of their makes an attempt to appreciate those social worlds. it is usually the unintended slip, the spontaneous dialogue, the offhanded remark that opens this terrain of secrets and techniques to the conscientious storyteller. unintended Ethnography delves into this shadowy global of ache and loss within the hopes of discovering effective, moral avenues for remodeling the key lives of households into robust narratives of desire. It merges autoethnographic technique with the healing strength of storytelling to heal kin wounds. Poulos’s lyrical textual content will attract these in ethnography, interpersonal verbal exchange, and relations relationships alike.

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Extra info for Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy (Writing Lives)

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The tradition of qualitative inquiry of this sort, of course, has a long history, and its parameters and conventions are broadly accepted (even celebrated) in several fields of study (Bochner, 2001; Braud & Anderson, 1998; Denzin, 1997; Denzin & Lincoln, 2000, 2001; Garfinkel, 1967; Geertz, 2005; Goodall, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2006b; Richardson, 2000; Turner, 1969; Turner & Bruner, 1986; Van Maanen, 1988). The new narrative turn, of which I see accidental ethnography as a natural step, is simply an extension and expansion of this long history—the next moment in its evolution.

For some time I have been contemplating the idea that the process of writing the so-called new ethnography (Goodall, 2000) just comes on me, carries me along, throws me down, pulls me up short, pushes me, cajoles me, and catches me up in a wave of action, passion, and rising spirit. The writing carries me, not the other way around. I fall into it, and it takes me where it wants. Sometimes the ride is fast and exciting, sometimes cool and refreshing, sometimes overwhelming and scary, sometimes incredibly invigorating, always fascinating.

Similarly, H. L. , whose father died a mysterious death in the 1970s, has written A Need to Know: The Clandestine History of a CIA Family, in which he painstakingly, imaginatively, and engagingly pieces together the strange cryptic puzzle of his father’s life and family legacy (Goodall, 2006a). For Goodall, the investigative process is confounded by large gaps in the archival records he searches; the CIA, of course, is notorious for its sleight of hand when it comes to its field agents. Goodall’s father was hired, after World War II, as a “clerk typist” and was later appointed as a “Veterans Affairs” officer for the State Department.

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