What Does the Oral History Method Effect on "Changing the Narrative" of War?

Mohammad Doroudian
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


The present remark is written on the assumption that the narrative of the Iran-Iraq war is changing. As it is obvious, written history also has an effect on changing the narrative of war according to the mentioned premise, but the subject of study is the effect of the oral history method will be mentioned in the following. Based on the above assumption, the question is: What does the use of the oral history method effect on changing the narrative of war? To answer this question, the rationale behind changing the narrative of war will be explained by emphasizing the impact of oral history.

The subject of the narrative of the war is the events, because the theme of the narrative is the events which forms the outline of its beginning, continuation and end. Historical events are studied in research works based on documents and using arguments, whereas in the oral history, events are narrated on the basis of historical memory, or written manuscripts; with the important difference that the narrator focuses her/his observations or role in the event and turns a blind eyes on other factors and actors; but, the historian use historical documents and data, aiming to research in order to reveal historical facts.

Since "oral narration" of events is a matter of expression and discourse, so tastes, intentions and dominant discourse play a crucial role in determining the trajectory of the narrative and the ups and downs, as well as drawing how it begins and ends. In such conditions, despite the passage of time, the narrator emphasizes issues and events which may not have received much attention at the time of the occurrence or its significance has not been understood and emphasized as it is now. As result, changing the discourse and in other words, dominant discourse plays a key role in reviewing historical narratives; and this is more visible in oral history than in written one. In written and documented history, previous narrations cannot be supplemented or revised without citing data and using argument, while in oral history, this is easily done because of "narrator-orientation".

This remark reveals the place of oral history in changing the narrative of war and the path of change in war narratives can be studied by reviewing the oral history of war.

June 02, 2021

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