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The truth about abuse?: A comparative approach to inquiry narratives on historical institutional child abuse
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2016 (English)In: History of Education, ISSN 0046-760X, E-ISSN 1464-5130, Vol. 45, no 4, 492-509 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent decades, history of childhood and history of education have gained status as political concerns through the establishment of numerous truth commissions and inquiries into historical institutional child abuse. The article discusses the methodological and ethical dilemmas that arise when writing the history of abused children with the objective of both recognising and redressing the victims as well as offering an account of ‘what really happened’. Comparing how inquiry commissions in Ireland, Sweden and Denmark evaluate and approach victims' oral testimonies and written records from child welfare agencies, the article explores the acts of balancing between different epistemological approaches to the concept of “truth”. The results suggest that while inquiries have to address and convince several audiences simultaneously, empiricist positivist methods of inquiry have dominated the approaches to “truth”. However, this approach has not been without ambivalence, and there are examples of constructivist approaches as well.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 45, no 4, 492-509 p.
Keyword [en]
historical institutional child abuse, truth commission, inquiry, truth, ethics
National Category
History Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-128620DOI: 10.1080/0046760X.2016.1177607OAI: diva2:930832
Vanvårdsutredningar i ett komparativt perspektiv: bidrag till samhällsvårdade barns internationella histori
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, FORTE 2011-0251
Available from: 2016-05-25 Created: 2016-05-25 Last updated: 2016-06-10

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Sköld, Johanna
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