Oral History, Interrogating the Method

  • Runyararo Sihle ChivauraEmail author


The objective of this chapter was to obtain detailed first-hand information of how African immigrants living in Australia perceive their representations in the media. Second, how these representations influence how they believe they are socially recognised and what bearing this has on their everyday lives. Aforementioned in the previous chapters, there tends to be an objectification of African immigrations in Australian media. Hence, in this chapter, I want to position African immigrants as the subjects of discourse in documenting their experience. The oral interviews that form the key component of this chapter gives this immigrant group the space to answer back to what is written about and for them. In my role as a researcher in this book, I am not just writing about the African experience in Australia as an external phenomenon of which I have no connection to. Instead, my research and writing to a degree also capture my lived reality. In my inclusion of the transcripts collected from the interviews as well as the digital audio files, this adds reflexivity to the data in the ways in which it is accessed in conjunction with reading this book.


African voices First-hand information Subjects of discourse Experience Lived reality Dominant cultural narratives Racial characterisation Identity performance Xenophobia Everyday life 


  1. Atkinson, R. (1998). The life story interview. In J. F. Gubrium & J. A. Holstein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research: Context and method (pp. 121–140). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, J. (2008). First steps in qualitative data analysis: Transcribing. Family Practice, 25(2), 127–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bakhtin, M. M. (2010). The dialogic imagination: Four essays. Texas: University of Texas.Google Scholar
  4. Benison, S. (1971). Oral history: A personal view. In E. Clark (Ed.), Modern methods in the history of medicine. New York: Oxford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brabazon, T. (2011). Take the Red Pill: A new matrix of literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 2(3), 209–229.Google Scholar
  6. Brabazon, T., Redhead, S., & Chivaura, R. (2015, October 30). Finding a voice. Tara Brabazon Podcast. Podcast retrieved from
  7. Bucholtz, M. (2000). The politics of transcription. Journal of Pragmatics, 32(10), 1439–1465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bucholtz, M. (2007). Variation in transcription. Discourse Studies, 9(6), 784–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clary-Lemon, J. (2010). ‘We’re not ethnic, we’re Irish!’: Oral histories and the discursive construction of immigrant identity. Discourse & Society, 21(1), 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Cutler, W. W. (1970). Accuracy in oral history interviewing. Historical Methods Newsletter, 3(3), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davidson, C. (2009). Transcription: Imperatives for qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(2), 35–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2013). Strategies of qualitative inquiry (Vol. 4). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., & Mackay, H. (1997). Doing cultural studies: The story of the Sony Walkman. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Elliott, J. (2005). Using narrative in social research: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Finnegan, R. (2007). The oral and beyond: Doing things with words in Africa. Chicago: James Currey/University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Firouzkouhi, M., & Zargham-Boroujeni, A. (2015). Data analysis in oral history: A new approach in historical research. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 20(2), 161–164.Google Scholar
  19. Fisher, W., & Rosenthal, G. (1991). Biographical method in sociology. In U. Flick, E. V. Kardorff, H. Keupp, & L. V. Rosenstiel (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative social research (pp. 253–256). Munich: Psychology Publisher Union.Google Scholar
  20. Gray, A. (2003). A question of research. In Research practice for cultural studies (pp. 57– 78). Retrieved from
  21. Grele, R. J. (1998). Movement without aim: Methodological and theoretical problems in oral history. In R. Perks & A. Thompson (Eds.), The oral history reader (pp. 38–49). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, S. (1999). Encoding, decoding. In S. During (Ed.), The cultural studies reader (3rd ed., pp. 477–487). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mautner, G. (2008). Analyzing newspapers, magazines and other print media. In R. Wodak & M. Krzyżanowski (Eds.), Qualitative discourse analysis in the social sciences. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  25. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding the media: The extensions of man. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  26. Portelli, A. (1998a). Oral history as genre. In M. Chamberlain & P. Thompson (Eds.), Narrative and genre (pp. 23–45). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Portelli, A. (1998b). What makes oral history different. In R. Perks & A. Thomson (Eds.), The oral history reader (pp. 63–73). London and New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  28. Probyn, E. (2007). The politics of experience. In A. Gray, J. Campbell, M. Erickson, S. Hanson, & H. Wood (Eds.), CCCS selected working papers (Vol. 1, pp. 425–432). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Rosenthal, G. (1993). Reconstruction of life stories: Principles of selection in generating stories for narrative biographical interviews. The Narrative Study of Lives., 1(1), 59–91.Google Scholar
  30. Stone, F. A. (1984). Using oral history in educational studies. Connecticut: University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  31. Van Dijk, T. A. (2000). New(s) racism: A discourse analytical approach. London: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Wodak, R., & Meyer, M. (Eds.). (2008). Methods for critical discourse analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Living Cultural Studies and Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations