Family and Community: (Re)Telling Our Own Story
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Byrne, Anne and O'Mahony, Deirdre. (2011) Family and Community: (Re)Telling Our Own Story, Journal of Family Issues, Special issue on Ireland. September 25, 2011; 0192513X11421121, first published on September 25, 2011, iFirst article/ January 2012, Vol. 33, 1: pp. 52-75.
The contribution of family, kin and community relations to sustaining a rural way of life was the primary focus of Arensberg and Kimball's anthropological study of Irish families in the 1930s, published as Family and Community in Ireland (1940, 1968, 2001). It is a detailed ethnographic study of the familial, communal, and economic relationships of the small farmer class of rural Clare in the west of Ireland. Through the frame of a collaborative community research project with an artist, sociologist and the descendents of the families written about, in this article we explore the consequences of the 1930s anthropological study for community identity and how a research project based on Kimball¿s 1930s field diary provided an opportunity for community members to tell their own story of family and community in the 21st century. A narrative inquiry approach is deployed, honouring the power of local stories to disrupt dominant narratives.