Download Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy by Christopher N. Poulos PDF

By Christopher N. Poulos

Each one relations has its secrets and techniques, ones that form kin communique and relationships in a fashion mostly unknown to the outsider and infrequently the kin itself. Autoethnographers, scholars of those relationships, confront many silences of their makes an attempt to appreciate those social worlds. it is usually the unintentional slip, the spontaneous dialogue, the offhanded remark that opens this terrain of secrets and techniques to the conscientious storyteller. unintentional Ethnography delves into this shadowy international of ache and loss within the hopes of discovering effective, moral avenues for remodeling the key lives of households into robust narratives of wish. It merges autoethnographic technique with the healing strength of storytelling to heal relations wounds. Poulos’s lyrical textual content will attract these in ethnography, interpersonal communique, and relations relationships alike.

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Extra info for Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy (Writing Lives)

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Summer days, we would bolt out our front doors at eight in the morning, and sometimes we wouldn’t return until dark was settling in, somewhere around 9:30. We spent much of our time in the woods, fighting until one side surrendered. In the middle of one such engagement, as the long dusk was fading toward night, my best 54 | Accidental Ethnography friend Eddie Hampton and I came upon a clearing in the woods. We had stumbled right into the yard of an abandoned house, set way back from a dirt road at the far edge of town.

This idea comes from the Accidental Ethnography | 47 insight that, although life is a performance, most of it is improvisational in nature. That is, we generally go about much of our lives stumbling through its various moments without a script. Many of us like to think we plan things out, but truthfully, much of our daily engagement in various life activities is spontaneous, surprising, unplanned. Knowing that, I see accidental ethnography as a willingness to surrender to the creative, imaginative, spontaneous, apparently accidental signs and impulses that surge up and, from time to time, really grip us, take hold of us, call us out and throw us down, sweep us away, and carry us to places we may not have even imagined if we had tried to lay out a straight line to our eventual discoveries.

In the end, Trujillo, through the simple act of asking for stories, through probing and searching, through examination of artifacts, through a tour through the signs left behind by his Naunny, finds the Family Secrets | 35 “many meanings” of his grandmother. He tells the rich and evocative tale of a woman, a family, a community, a world—all through the work of writing a life into a storied tribute. This world is surely a better place because of such work. Similarly, H. L. , whose father died a mysterious death in the 1970s, has written A Need to Know: The Clandestine History of a CIA Family, in which he painstakingly, imaginatively, and engagingly pieces together the strange cryptic puzzle of his father’s life and family legacy (Goodall, 2006a).

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