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The role of life histories in an age of apology : a presence of the past?

Lieselot De Wilde (UGent) , Bruno Vanobbergen (UGent) and Griet Roets (UGent)
(2020) QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK. 19(1). p.93-107
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Abstract
Based on an oral history study that retrospectively explores the life histories of former orphans in the city of Ghent (Belgium) after the Second World War, we analyse and critique the role of historical research in the current apology trend. Due to the crucial role of (oral) history in these out-of-home care inquiries, these official public apologies, offered by the state as an attempt to come to terms with the past, deserve some specific academic attention in social work research. By inquiring into historical abuse in child welfare and educational institutions, governments of the Western world attempt to close a rather dark chapter in their national histories. Relying on research insights emerging from our research project with formerly orphaned children, we argue that it is impossible to puzzle together one common historical narrative. Moreover, we discovered that the history of the Ghent orphanages is still very much debated and alive more than 35 years after their doors were closed. In this article, we tease out how life histories can play a role in Western welfare states today.We therefore explore the relevance of the notion of ‘presence’ in order to rethink the relationship between the past and the present.
Keywords
Social Sciences (miscellaneous), Health(social science), Abuse, historical research, presence, welfare states, oral history, life histories, CHILD

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MLA
De Wilde, Lieselot, et al. “The Role of Life Histories in an Age of Apology : A Presence of the Past?” QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK, vol. 19, no. 1, 2020, pp. 93–107.
APA
De Wilde, L., Vanobbergen, B., & Roets, G. (2020). The role of life histories in an age of apology : a presence of the past? QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK, 19(1), 93–107.
Chicago author-date
De Wilde, Lieselot, Bruno Vanobbergen, and Griet Roets. 2020. “The Role of Life Histories in an Age of Apology : A Presence of the Past?” QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK 19 (1): 93–107.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Wilde, Lieselot, Bruno Vanobbergen, and Griet Roets. 2020. “The Role of Life Histories in an Age of Apology : A Presence of the Past?” QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK 19 (1): 93–107.
Vancouver
1.
De Wilde L, Vanobbergen B, Roets G. The role of life histories in an age of apology : a presence of the past? QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK. 2020;19(1):93–107.
IEEE
[1]
L. De Wilde, B. Vanobbergen, and G. Roets, “The role of life histories in an age of apology : a presence of the past?,” QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 93–107, 2020.
@article{8592994,
  abstract     = {Based on an oral history study that retrospectively explores the life histories of former orphans in the city of Ghent (Belgium) after the Second World War, we analyse and critique the role of historical research in the current apology trend. Due to the crucial role of (oral) history in these out-of-home care inquiries, these official public apologies, offered by the state as an attempt to come to terms with the past, deserve some
specific academic attention in social work research. By inquiring into historical abuse in child welfare and educational institutions, governments of the Western world attempt to close a rather dark chapter in their national histories. Relying on research insights emerging from our research project with formerly orphaned children, we argue that it is impossible to puzzle together one common historical narrative. Moreover,  we discovered that the history of the Ghent orphanages is still very much debated and alive more than 35 years after their doors were closed. In this article, we tease out how life histories can play a role in Western welfare states today.We therefore explore the relevance of the notion of ‘presence’ in order to rethink the relationship between the past and the present.},
  author       = {De Wilde, Lieselot and Vanobbergen, Bruno and Roets, Griet},
  issn         = {1473-3250},
  journal      = {QUALITATIVE SOCIAL WORK},
  keywords     = {Social Sciences (miscellaneous),Health(social science),Abuse,historical research,presence,welfare states,oral history,life histories,CHILD},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {93--107},
  title        = {The role of life histories in an age of apology : a presence of the past?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473325018796687},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2020},
}

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