Qualitative Methodology, the Historical Sociologist and Oral Societies: Re-assessing the Reliability of Remembered "Facts

  • Ali A. Abdi University of Alberta
Keywords: qualitative methodology, oral societies, historical sociologist, colonialism, written text (word), Somalia (Somalis)

Abstract

With qualitative methodology now taking center stage in social sciences research, historical information in oral societies that pervasively relies on remembered categories could be sometimes fragmentary, biased, and willfully mis-located to effect a preferred relationship that may disturb or sustain currently desired power relations among groups of people. This paper will attempt to examine specific problems and challenges that pertain to the role of the historical sociologist who must not only record and interpret recalled events, but must also beware of possible "conflicts of interest" in the informant's/expert's relationship with the rest of society. The paper will use select examples from Somalia (East Africa) to show some possibilities of how and why people could manipulate historical data which, when published or reported officially, may facilitate their claim on resources and/or other preferred economic and socio-political outcomes. The paper proposes several ways to strengthen the situational reliability of the information received. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0103219

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Author Biography

Ali A. Abdi, University of Alberta
Ali A. ABDI is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. His research interests include international development education, sociology of education, and African philosophies and methodologies of education. His book, Culture, Education, and Development in South Africa: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, will be published by Bergin & Garvey, Westport, Connecticut (USA).
Published
2001-09-30
How to Cite
Abdi, A. A. (2001). Qualitative Methodology, the Historical Sociologist and Oral Societies: Re-assessing the Reliability of Remembered "Facts. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-2.3.916