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Truth or story or true story? The self in the interview situation

Author(s): Iulia Gheorghiu

Journal: Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN 2068-0317

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Life story | narrative research | social scripts | co-authorship | biographical illusion

This study is a methodological inquiry into how individuals present themselves and picture their identity in the life-story interview situation and which are the settings which have a say in this presentation. In order to achieve my goal, I resort to life story interviews that I conducted with students coming from different parts of Romania to study in Bucharest. I pay close attention to how they order the events in their lives, what are the most common themes that appear in their discourse. I am particularly interested in scripts they employ and how the content of their narratives is a matter of co-authorship between the person telling the story and the one listening to it – interaction based on mutually understood knowledge of what the student experience means. In the light of the popularity narrative methods have in the social sciences, I address the problem of what kind of account social scientists actually obtain when conducting research based on narrative methods. I argue that this knowledge is situational and constructed in the interaction between narrator and interviewer.

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