Witness, memory and narrative: the journey from experience to recounting
Coetzee, Jan K
Department of Sociology Rhodes University Grahamstown, South Africa
The paper explores the epistemological problems when analysing oral sources. A personal narrative is a meaning-constructing activity that takes place on different levels. It starts off with the interaction between narrator and the narrated event (the life experience as it takes place) but includes various dimensions on its way to the final text of the narrated event. This paper explores some of these dimensions, such as objective markers (real people, real events, factually correct features, etc), memory, suffering, trauma, and intersubjectivity. The hermeneutical complexity of analysing witness accounts will be illustrated.