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Evaluate the arguments for and against oral history as an historical method.

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Introduction

Evaluate the arguments for and against oral history as an historical method. In order to respond adequately to this topic you should (a) examine a number of arguments made for and against oral history, and (b) examine a work of history that makes substantial use of oral history. Some examples: ABC, Voices from a Vanishing Australia Bowden, Being Aboriginal Gilbert, Living Black Huggins, Auntie Rita Lowenstein, Weevils in the Flour Lowenstein and Loh, The Immigrants Tatz, Black Viewpoints York, Speaking of Us Oral history is commonly referred to as an unreliable source of information for historical use due to it's single minded approach, however when the term history is examined, discovering exactley who, how, and why 'history' is created, oral testimony seems as reliable as any source of historical evidence. Among the arguments for and against oral history, the most important issue is to remember the purpose of oral history. It is not to be taken as a primary source of information becuase of its nature, however when used in relation to social context oral history has the ablity to give a much more board perspective, rather than relying on the records kept by the most powerful civilisation at the time. ...read more.

Middle

History has been described as a highly selective disipline by the likes of Finley (2000) who will most likely rarely be mentioned in history books, however those such as Aristole who also openly rejected history are frequently mentioned throughout history.(Finley, M 2000 p.11) Unless Finley is to predict the future, this in itself is an example of histories selectivness. Historians are responsible for what we reguard as history, however it has been their choice as to what to reguard as relivant history, much like the way one whould choose to recall certain aspects during an interview. Enevitably all recorded history comes under scrutiny of the indiviual historian, wether it be the oral historians choice of subject and questions, or the ancient historian who chooses what evidence to use, whether being government archives or meuseams, and its degree of relivancy depending upon individual interpretation. It is the interpretation of history, the fact that a dominate historian or culture decides what is history and what is everyday life that makes it so particular, or disiplinary. Although it has been extreamly challenged by historians, reguarding the nineth chapter as not dealing with history at all, Aristole's work in large is not contructed with facts, figures, statistics or details of a recorded event. ...read more.

Conclusion

, however ones reason or perception of truth can only be held accountable by the individual. Given that, the central problem seen with oral history is that it overshadows, or is opinionitive, yet all historical evidence, whether it be newspaper articles, government statistics or oral testimony comes under the perception of one mind eventually. All forms of evidence are created for a single purpose and their continuing existence also comes under scrutiny from not only the modern collective public perception, given the case with relocating and destroying monuments depending on their recent realivance (Davison, G 1998 p.59), but also the public servents working to control archives. After realising that all data and recorded evidence is opinitive there remains no reason to exclude oral history as a historical method. Oral history can be seen in the light as social history becuase what results is the perception of life through the selected subject. When oral testimony encounters both sides of the story, such as white and black perception, the historian is able to glance into the imaginitive world of the interviewees. So long as the historians takes both counts into equal weighting, oral history allows what other forms of history can not, the ability to discover how and why we percive our world completely, underlying all we create. ...read more.

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