Article published in:Oral History: The challenges of dialogue
Edited by Marta Kurkowska-Budzan and Krzysztof Zamorski
[Studies in Narrative 10] 2009
► pp. 15–26
Oral historian: Neither moralizer nor informer
In this paper, I discuss oral historian’s roles in interviews in which crimes are revealed. First, I look at cases with the primary aim to collect information about statute-barred crimes. Second, I discuss cases in which the researcher does not study crimes, but the interviewee wants to disclose them. In the first case, the historian encourages the narrator to talk about crimes; in the second case she encourages her to keep silent. Oral historian should never accuse, reproach, or give therapy. She should not inform the authorities but encourage the narrator to do it herself. Finally, I suggest that the oral historian should be bound to professional secrecy.
Keywords: interview – oral historian’s role, professional secrecy, statute-barred crime
Published online: 22 April 2009