By Keiko Ikeda
The highschool reunion happens in the course of the usa and cuts throughout ameliorations in age, locality, and ethnicity. This renowned occasion is often considered a light-hearted social party or an workout in nostalgia that has little different importance within the lives of its individuals. Drawing on candid own narratives derived from reunions starting from the 5th to the 50th, this pathbreaking examine demonstrates, besides the fact that, that for plenty of american citizens the highschool reunion is a wealthy and infrequently poignant adventure. Of specific curiosity is the truth that this ethnographic learn was once carried out by way of a eastern anthropologist expert within the usa, who deals a comparative point of view on excessive colleges within the international locations. excessive colleges serve very diversified social reasons in Japan and the us, and the methods humans within the international locations view their highschool years fluctuate hence. the writer examines the yankee highschool reunion as a dramatic scene within the building of self and which means in maturity. through the highschool reunion, american citizens are thrown right into a room choked with mirrors during which they're faced through diversified visions of themselves. There they see photos in their highschool selves filtered throughout the lighting and shadows forged by way of classmates’ thoughts and projected opposed to the backdrop created through the lives of these classmates at present. via an research of the a number of reflections of self that emerge in the course of reunions, the writer indicates how reunions come up with the money for humans an get together on which to reevaluate their very own stories and arrive at a brand new realizing of self. the yank highschool reunion hence presents individuals with a sequence of self-perceptions from which they could build new narratives in their personal lives.
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Extra info for A Room Full of Mirrors: High School Reunions in Middle America
Just as the participant-observer attempts to discover the ways people inhabit their cultural universe, the ethnographer of narrative tries also to "inhabit a discourse," to paraphrase Samuel Johnson. My goal is to reach out and feel, and to convey that feeling to the reader, to portray the "living universe" that is experienced through the sense-making activities of the people who inhabit it. 26 Narrativeswhether expressed in stories, life stories, anecdotes, commentary, or gossipwithin and outside the reunion context are interpretive expressions of "life as experienced" (Bruner 1986).
26 Narrativeswhether expressed in stories, life stories, anecdotes, commentary, or gossipwithin and outside the reunion context are interpretive expressions of "life as experienced" (Bruner 1986). The inclusion of personal narratives in ethnographic accounts is considered by many to add new "life" to the presentation of ethnoraphic data and to give the routinized, rule-governed ethnographic present vitality and vibrancy. We have to move beyond the rules of the game, Renato Rosaldo (1986: 103) argues, to explore stories that other people tell themselves about themselves: In telling about a game do we want to know the rules or how it was played?
22 A bellboy in the prime-time television drama Hotel suffers to overcome the disparity between his present occupation and his high Page 20 school image as a football player when he must decide whether or not to attend his class reunion, to be held at the hotel where he works. Similarly, on receiving a reunion invitation, Mr. Carlson, of WKRP in Cincinnati, wonders in agony how "those high school kids" will treat him when they find out that the high school nobody has not yet grown up to be an adult somebody.