Small stories, trivial events – and strong emotions : Local event narratives in hand-written newspapers as negotiation of individual and collective experiences

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/230130

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Salmi-Niklander , K 2017 , Small stories, trivial events – and strong emotions : Local event narratives in hand-written newspapers as negotiation of individual and collective experiences . in M Tasa , E-H Västrik & A Kannike (eds) , Body, Personhood and Privacy : Perspectives on Cultural Other and Human Experience. Approaches to Culture Theory 7 . Approaches to Culture Theory , no. 7 , University of Tartu Press , Tartu , pp. 163-178 .

Title: Small stories, trivial events – and strong emotions : Local event narratives in hand-written newspapers as negotiation of individual and collective experiences
Author: Salmi-Niklander, Kirsti
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, FHKT 2010-2017
Tasa, Monika
Västrik, Ergo-Hart
Kannike, Anu

Publisher: University of Tartu Press
Date: 2017-10-20
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Body, Personhood and Privacy Perspectives on Cultural Other and Human Experience. Approaches to Culture Theory 7
Belongs to series: Approaches to Culture Theory
ISBN: 978-9949-77-459-3
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/230130
Abstract: Abstract. How can one capture emotions and embodied experiences in historical archival materials? I will approach this methodological challenge from the perspectives of folklore studies, narrative and historical research. The sources for reaching these experiences and emotions are hand-written newspapers, which were a popular tradition in Finnish student organisations and popular movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My special interest lies in local event narratives that depict recent events in local communities: meetings, trips, social evenings and informal gatherings. According to my observations, local event narratives can express hidden tensions and slow historical processes, which are rather acted out in apparently trivial events of everyday life than formulated in ideological statements. In the analysis of local event narratives I have been inspired by the narrative methodology oriented towards “small stories”, developed by Michael Bamberg and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (2007; 2008). The focus of the research on “small stories” is on how people use stories in everyday situations “to create a sense of who they are”. “Small stories” can also be called “narratives-in interaction”, which Bamberg and Georgakopoulou define “as the sites of engagement where identities are continuously practised and tested out” (2008, 378-379). Modified for historical archive materials the small stories methodology provides possibilities for innovative new readings. In this article I will examine the possibility of developing a more fine-grained analytical model, including analysis of narrative interaction by applying Ervin Goffman’s (1981) terminology. I will present my methodological observations with examples of my research materials: the temperance society, known as The Star in Helsinki in the 1890s; and the agrarian youth society of Hiirola in eastern Finland during the first decade of the twentieth century. I compare my research findings with two studies on narrative strategies in letters and diaries from the same period, written by Martyn Lyons (2013) and Andrew Hassam (1994).
Subject: 6160 Other humanities
Folklore Studies
narrative approach
hand-written newspapers
small stories
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