From One Hundred Student Revolutions to One Hundred Student Evolutions. On the Method of the First Longitudinal Project in Czech Oral History
Od Sta studentských revolucí ke Stu studentským evolucím. K metodě prvního longitudiálního projektu české orální historie
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This contribution is based on two projects, twenty years apart, which are dedicated student activists of 1989. The project Students during the Fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia – Biographical Interviews (1997-1999) was a key to the development of oral history in the Czech Republic. The current followup longitudinal project The Student Generation of 1989 in Longitudinal Perspective has an ambition to capture the influence of the formative experience of the revolution of November 1989 on the life stories of the narrators, former student activists of 1989, in their personal, professional, and political dimensions. The longitudinal approach, which was applied for the first time in Czech oral history, is discussed in the paper also from the point of view of psychologists and documentary filmmakers, and a similar project of Czech ethnologists, focusing on the folklore movement in totalitarian Czechoslovakia, is also mentioned. The author describes the problems of the role of an insider in collecting interviews, as well as in conducting the interviews by individual younger interviewers. Special attention is paid to the phenomenon of “longitudinality within longitudinality”, i.e. a period between the realization of the first and the followup interviews, during which presidential and parliamentary elections took place, which the narrators reacted mostly negatively to. Changes in their personal lives – if mentioned by the respondents – were not vocalized as strongly as the country’s social situation.
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