Accepted Paper:

War veterans on Holiday - Closure and Pleasure  


Marie Avellino (University of Malta)

Paper short abstract:

Interviewing war veterans on holiday is rewarding as many feel proud to talk about their war time experiences, some just gloss over the event and refuse to talk about it. One strategy has been to ask the informants to write about it.

Paper long abstract:

Interviewing war veterans who had served in Malta during the war and which now return as tourists, can evoke memories, which for some are impossible to speak about. Informants can become violent or turn to tears when they visit nostalgic sites. They actively choose to visit these places, which could be interpreted as wanting to achieve closure. In some cases the researcher has resolved this by asking informants to write down their memories of the past as well as their feelings about the present. Some refuse to do so, whilst in a few cases it is the partner or friend who contributes the data.

How is the researcher going to act in such circumstances and what value do these silences or outbursts contribute to the research?

Panel P09
Recalling the unspeakable: interviewers facing silence