To name or not to name: reflections on the use of anonymity in an oral archive of migrant life narratives
Ní Laoire, Caitríona
Taylor and Francis Ltd.
This paper draws on an oral archive project on narratives of return migration in contemporary Ireland, as the basis for a discussion on the potential of life narrative research to destabilize meta-narratives and to contribute to the mapping of transformative geographies. It is argued that this kind of research requires the creation of safe spaces within which participants can tell their stories and articulate counter-narratives. At the same time, it is important to make their voices available to a wide audience and to recognize their authorial roles. There are contrasting perspectives in oral history and life narrative research on the use of anonymity to protect participants' identities, which reflect different disciplinary traditions and practices. The paper reflects on these different perspectives and on the process of designing a research project that draws on multiple methodological influences. It concludes that it is possible to facilitate access to these voices, while at the same time providing safe conditions for the articulation of counter-narratives, by providing anonymity where possible and desirable in agreement with the participant.
Life narrative , Return migration , Anonymity , Oral archive , Ethics , Ireland
Ni Laoire, C.; (2007) 'To name or not to name: reflections on the use of anonymity in an oral archive of migrant life narratives'. Social and Cultural Geography, 8 (3):373-393. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649360701488807
© 2007 Taylor & Francis. This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Caitríona Ní Laoire (2007): To name or not to name: reflections on the use of anonymity in an oral archive of migrant life narratives, Social & Cultural Geography, 8:3, 373-390 as published in the Social and Cultural Geography, 1 June 2007, copyright 2007 Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14649360701488807