|Nostalgia Forbidden: Ethics and the Narrative Voice in Presenting Politically Marginalized and Controversial Recollections|
|The paper will suggest the form of a quest narrative as a possible solution to issues of ethics and hierarchy in the researcher-interviewee relationship in oral history research on post-1968 academic publishing and censorship in the (state-socialist) Czech Republic, conducted in an environment in which a received social and cultural memory about the researched period has already formed. The received, and therefore legitimate, ways of remembering include the allocations of values and of the roles of victims and perpetrators, the repositories of memory and even the methods of research on the period. The research brought to light issues of methodology and written presentation originating in the sensitive nature of the project, in which the interviewees were academics who had been active in research and published between 1968 and
1989 within official structures (i.e. not dissidents organised around samizdat publications) and who continued to be respected by their peers also after the demise of the state-socialist regime. Engaging with issues, such as, de-centering of the researcher's position and her authoritative voice, representation of the interviewees, and uncovering structures of power by foregrounding the research process, was key in resolving the specific difficulties resulting from the vested interests of the interviewees in the research subject, the relation to the social and cultural memory manifest in the narratives, and the different generational and professional positioning of the researcher and the interviewees in the written output. This paper draws on methods of qualitative research in cultural studies, literary approaches to narrative and feminist methodologies in proposing the construction of a polyphonic text with distinct narrative features as a way of preserving the tensions and ambiguities of the interview narratives and the different generational positions of the research participants.