Writing the (Country) Girl

Narratives of place, matter, relations and memory

Authored by: Susanne Gannon

The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138784291
eBook ISBN: 9781315768199
Adobe ISBN: 9781317665717


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This chapter explores some of the ethical implications and complexities of writing about girl-hood in memoir, autoethnography and collective biography. While recognizing that ‘the girl’ can be understood theoretically as ‘an assemblage of social and cultural issues and questions rather than a field of physical facts’ (Driscoll, 2008, p. 14), as a ‘cultural, historical and social phenomenon that is shaped by social policies and institutions’ (Gonick & Gannon, 2014), this chapter turns to narrative ‘empirical’ accounts of country girlhood in a dialogue with Driscoll’s The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience (2014). It assembles narrative vignettes of girlhood memory in particular moments of temporal and spatial dislocation, including in the present. Rather than seeking to create a definitive account of a ‘real’ experience of country girlhood, the chapter attempts to disinter, dislocate and multiply narratives of memory around the figure of the country girl. It follows affective and relational flows, and evokes the materiality of memory. It situates personal memories within socio-political and historical contexts. And it seeks to be ethically responsive to those others with whom the narrating subject and her story are entangled.

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