Marketing of Oral History Works; Opportunity or Threat

Malihe Kamaledin
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


Considering the needs of the audience and the need to sell more cultural works and deliver goods to the consumer, marketing of all goods, including cultural goods, is one of the components of cultural economy which affect many cultural areas and add fuel to competition in this field.

"The introduction of concepts such as cultural industries, cultural goods, and the cultural market into the social science literature indicates a phenomenon which is the product of the convergence and overlap of the two realms of economics and culture. Studying the effects of globalization on the trade in cultural goods also shows how the phenomenon of culture is changing under the pressure of economic developments, including the pressure of the global market." (Kharazmi, Shahin Dokht, ‘Globalization of the Culture Market’, Hamshahri Newspaper, Tuesday, August 12, 2008)

In recent years, published works in the field of oral history have not been immune from this approach and several methods for marketing works have been put on the agenda.

It is clear that collecting information in oral history is based on interviewing. Some believe that oral history is literally formed in the process of "conversation", i.e. the two sides of the interview are purposeful in the form of speaking and listening, which can create a historical and memory-based work and produce a clear text as a historical document.

In this regard, the slogan of the necessity of goods' "marketing", including oral history works, is heard more than ever with the advancement of technologies in various fields and the increase of cultural works. Marketing approach has led some to publish and release all kinds of interviews, such as ‘question-answer interview’, with a simple re-reading and brief editing and proofreading. As result, in many cases poor-quality works can be seen. It should be noted that the courage to write is one thing, and the effort to produce a magnificent work is another.

Of course, due to the lack of consensus among experts and pundits on oral history and how to compile it, we are faced with different types of compilation. Some believe that, for instance, all the interviewees’ state, such as cough, laughter, sadness, etc., should be included in the final compilation. Others omit questions and compile memoirs with new chapters, titles, and layout. Some also edit the questions and answers as long as they do not damage the narrator's speech style, and to be close to the standard Persian. But it can be said that among all these works which are produced just to please the market, maybe at some point they will warm the market; but after a while, with the saturation of the market and the satisfaction of the needs of the audience, they will become forget. In that case, works which enjoy professional principles and styles will become a source and reference in a natural course, away from media advertisements and false emotions.

Finally, I emphasize that what was written is not a rejection or violation of some published works; rather, it is a fillip to consider the quality from the beginning of the selection of the subject and the narrator, and step by step to create an acceptable work which is considered by historians and not just to attract more customers and sell more.



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