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Locating Life StoriesBeyond East-West Binaries in (Auto)Biographical Studies$
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Maureen Perkins

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837303

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837303.001.0001

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Local Boons: The Many Lives of Family Stories

Local Boons: The Many Lives of Family Stories

(p.239) Local Boons: The Many Lives of Family Stories
Locating Life Stories

Kirin Narayan

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on family stories. These stories include rehashings of recent events that the speaker may have personally observed; oral history and legends about ancestors that are passed along through generations; and also myths that index a family's relationship to supernatural or divine beings. Family stories offer family members a personalized connection to places and to history. For instance, in India, the presence of caste bards, the Bhats or Charans, also extend family stories into a more formalized arena. For cultural anthropologists, family stories are largely an unmarked analytic category: certainly, other people's family stories appear in life histories, oral histories, and even ethnographic accounts, but they are usually shuffled in amid other sorts of narrative data.

Keywords:   family stories, Bhats, Charans, ethnographic accounts, narrative data, cultural anthropologists

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