Oral History, Remembering Practices and the Problem of “Access” to the Traumatic Experience

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oral history
memory studies
time regime
traumatic experience

How to Cite

Artemenko, N. (2020). Oral History, Remembering Practices and the Problem of “Access” to the Traumatic Experience. Corpus Mundi, 1(4), 14-33. https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v1i4.30


The method of “oral history” is quite widely used today, despite the fact that it came into being not so long ago. The origins of the method of oral history should be sought for in the studies related to interviewing, and with reference to related disciplines, i.e. sociology, ethnology, political science and, partly, linguistics. Quite soon, the disputes over the relation of oral history and historical memory became common for critical literature. The interview method is a very complex way, which requires quite an effort, as well as the awareness of researcher’s subjectivity of a high degree, therefore, some historians sees oral history as a highly unreliable source. Yet, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the method of oral history is in high demand in cases of no other sources except for the evidence of human memory being left. Oral history enables us to study not so much the facts of the past as the very human consciousness and its alteration, transformation, enables us to pose a question on the memory practices from a new perspective. Memory and remembering practices are closely related to oblivion, which, in its turn, indicates the need to eliminate the information that ravages the human psyche and the structure of public consciousness. Oblivion could be entitled “memory trauma” which should be understood as the events, destructive both to personal and social (including national) identity. Consequently the memory starts to be associated with the concept of trauma. The article delves into the relation between oral history and human memory, the problem of “accessing” the traumatic experience, special aspects of narrative in the traumatic experience.



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