By Christopher N. Poulos
Each one kin has its secrets and techniques, ones that form relatives conversation and relationships in a manner mostly unknown to the outsider and sometimes the kin itself. Autoethnographers, scholars of those relationships, confront many silences of their makes an attempt to appreciate those social worlds. it's always 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 ache and loss within the hopes of discovering efficient, moral avenues for remodeling the key lives of households into strong narratives of wish. It merges autoethnographic approach with the healing energy of storytelling to heal relations wounds. Poulos’s lyrical textual content will entice these in ethnography, interpersonal communique, and relations relationships alike.
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The smell of death. The whiff of memory. The stench of a secret. That insistent, acrid, horrible smell is what tells me the secret won’t stay put . . The floorboards in the spare room are buckling. 38 | Accidental Ethnography The problem with secret memories is that, no matter how much you try to ignore or bury them, they won’t stay put. They show up in the strangest of places, at the oddest of times. Triggered by seemingly random events in our everyday world, the in-breaking of memory can be as faint as a whisper, as nagging as an itch, as blinding as a flash of lightning, as chilling as an Arctic wind, as breathtaking as a plunge into icy water.
A secret shouldn’t be a secret any more? Clearly, despite the family rules that guard against stigma, and the scholarly arguments that “facework” can sometimes be positively accomplished via deception or silence or secrecy, a case can be made for embracing the opportunity to transform the secret lives of families into stories that open up new possibilities. That’s exactly what this book is about. In the next chapter, I outline the pathway I will take toward achieving that goal. Exercises If you find yourself intrigued by the idea of family secrets, and at the possibility of writing those secrets into stories that might transform your path, you might want to begin by considering your memories.
Sometimes the ride is fast and exciting, sometimes cool and refreshing, sometimes overwhelming and scary, sometimes incredibly invigorating, always fascinating. In short, for me, the process of composing and crafting an ethnographic tale is, in large part, a leap of faith. It is often a process I do not control. I like to think writing animates me, not the other way around. Indeed, I usually don’t know where the journey will lead. But I do know it will be a helluva trip. I also know this: As much as I wish to be in control, that fantasy is belied by the fact that ethnographic writing seems to do more to shape my life than I do to shape it as a “project” or a “product” of some sort.