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 kinfolk conversation and relationships in a manner normally unknown to the outsider and sometimes the relatives itself. Autoethnographers, scholars of those relationships, confront many silences of their makes an attempt to appreciate those social worlds. it is usually the unintended 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 discomfort and loss within the hopes of discovering efficient, moral avenues for reworking the key lives of households into strong narratives of wish. It merges autoethnographic technique with the healing strength of storytelling to heal kin wounds. Poulos’s lyrical textual content will entice these in ethnography, interpersonal communique, and family members relationships alike.

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

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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). For Goodall, the investigative process is confounded by large gaps in the archival records he searches; the CIA, of course, is notorious for its sleight of hand when it comes to its field agents. Goodall’s father was hired, after World War II, as a “clerk typist” and was later appointed as a “Veterans Affairs” officer for the State Department.

This question hovered in the background every time I, as a young boy, considered engaging in even the slightest forms of mischief, or when I began to appear different, like when I grew my hair long and pulled it back into a ponytail before slipping on my ripped jeans and my black bad-boy rock’n roll T-shirt. It was even more powerful when the family began to edge into conflict—which was, as the years went by, ever more likely and ever more noisy. In my family’s particular case, much of this impression management was instigated, in part at least, because of my father’s social position as a rector (head priest) of an Episcopal church.

A quick glance through several leading family communication textbooks and handbooks designed for the college classroom reveals that the concept of “family secret” is often mentioned only briefly or in passing, usually in the context of discussing boundary or role negotiation, privacy, or family rules (Anderson & Sabatelli, 2003; Braithwaite & Baxter, 2006; Floyd & Morman, 2006; Turner & West, 2006a, 2006b; Vangelisti, 2004; Yerby, Buerkel-Rothfuss, & Bochner, 1998). Annette Kuhn (1995) begins her study of family secrets by closely examining a simple artifact: a photograph of herself as a young child.

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