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It didn't seem to be like that when I was there: ethical dilemmas of representing lives.

Bramley, A. and Chapman, J., 2008. It didn't seem to be like that when I was there: ethical dilemmas of representing lives. In: Auto/Biography Yearbook 2007. Southampton, England: Clio Publishing, 131-152.

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“It didn’t seem to be like that when I was there: The ethical dilemmas in representing a life” In any biographical account, there are at least two points of view, and multiple representations of one life story. An agreement is made at the outset of the dialogue to represent the ‘truth’ in the story. But what if the truth is equivocal or disagreeable? Current ethical recommendations urge the review of transcripts by the individual, providing an opportunity for change and clarification. But beyond that, what rights does the subject have over the story and in what ways should the researcher address the possibility of pain caused by representing that individual? Annie and Judith trod this delicate path when Annie, who was researching the lives of colonial women in East Africa, interviewed Judith. Judith subsequently attended a conference where Annie gave a paper on her research. What ensued was an emotional dialogue around portraying and being portrayed. These complex issues raised ethical questions about the research participant’s anonymity and the use of voice and pseudonyms. Temporal and authorial issues were highlighted in the re-writing and presentation process. This paper is a collaborative venture exploring our attempts to represent a life and the mutual shaping of ethics and truth.

Item Type:Book Section
Number of Pages:190
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:17535
Deposited By: Ms Judith A Chapman
Deposited On:24 Mar 2011 11:01
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:38


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