Graham Smith, A short history of the Oral History Society, c. 1973-2013

The Oral History Society was forty years old in 2013. The Society has played an important part in the development of oral history, especially in Britain. This article charts and contextualises that development, while exploring the changing personnel involved. Here the author applies Fleck’s theories of thought collectives in preference to the paradigm shift model offered in earlier interpretations of the history of oral history. As a result, it is possible to understand the history of the Society and oral history in relation to wider societal change, including resources and a range of intellectual influences. It is also possible to conclude that while the Society will continue to have a role into the future; it is likely to be a changing one in which a number of key tensions between differing thought collectives will continue to arise.