Interviewing for Research on Languages and War

  • Catherine BakerEmail author


Many participants in conflict have experienced it through mediations of meaning between languages, and whole categories of participants have even often gone unnoticed in the study of war because of the historic ‘invisibility’ of languages and translation. Where archival methods often fall short in researching their experiences, and observational methods are infeasible, interviewing may help researchers get as close as possible to such participants’ memories—yet produces new narratives which are co-constructed between interviewer and interviewee, rather than direct access to their experiences of conflict. This chapter explores these issues by reflecting on interviews about peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina conducted for the Languages at War project in 2008–2011, through themes of narrative and memory, interview methodology, and positionality, including the boundaries of ‘military’/‘civilian’ identities.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistorySchool of Histories, Languages and Cultures, University of HullHullUK

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