DEBT OF HONOUR AND FEELING OF GUILT: ON THE PERPLEXITIES OF BIOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH
The article discusses ethical concerns and hesitations related to different phases of biographical research – interviewing, analysing the interviews and publishing research findings. Drawing on the principles of reflexive methodology, the author explores tensions raised by and in the field, from reconciling the discrepancy between the roles of a researcher and close relative. Biographical interview is perceived as a private experience, whereas the public nature of (academic) writing evokes questions as it presumes examining also the personal relationships developed in the field. Moving from the role of an emphatic listener to that of a determined cultural analyst can be challenging and force the researcher to question the legitimacy of her research activity as she engages in self-protective behaviour. Based on biographical interviews with Soviet era agricultural leaders, the author addresses also the debates over the Soviet legacy in Estonia.
University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu, ESTONIA
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