“Without these interviews, I would not have become a labour historian”

Three experiences of oral history in French working-class history
By Rémy Cazals, Nicolas Hatzfeld, Michel Pigenet, Ingrid Hayes, Ariane Mak

This roundtable brought together three French labour historians who have used oral history interviews since the 1970s and 1980s, to share their pioneering experiences and specific field practices. Important methodological and epistemological questions are addressed in the course of these exchanges: the entry into the field, how to conduct and transcribe interviews, the interplay between written and oral archives, between oral history and participant observation, and the relationship between interviewer and interviewee, among others. The last part of the roundtable focuses more closely on the contribution of oral sources to working-class studies, whether in exploring social conflicts, occupational health, professional identities, invisible resistance or everyday sociability.

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