The first step in autoethnographic research is taking a look at yourself, and understanding that everything that has happened to you makes you who you are, and impacts how you see the world around you. The second step is accepting that you can’t do anything to change that.
“Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno),” – Ellis, Adams and Bocher 2011.
As mentioned in Ellis’ Autoethnography: An Overview, authors often find it therapeutic to write personal stories as it helps to make sense of ourselves and our experiences (Ellis et al, 2011). By taking an auto ethnographic approach, authors are also able to question themselves to improve and understand relationships and promote change (Ellis et al, 2011).
I believe this demonstrates auto-ethnography methodology in its truest and literal form; as “both process and product” (Ellis et al 2011), but largely one of observation. Auto-ethnography is engaging with one’s own familiarities and then contrasting and comparing it to the unfamiliar to give your initial contextual framework greater definition, while building appreciation for the “other”.
One of the main critical responses to autoethnography is that it can be ‘too artful and not scientific, or too scientific and not sufficiently artful.’ (Ellis et al, 2011).
‘We know that memory is fallible, that it is impossible to recall or report on events in language that exactly represents how those events were lived and felt; and we recognize that people who have experienced the “same” event often tell different stories about what happened’ (TULLIS OWEN et al., 2009).
The quote above really caught my attention during the reading as no two people will feel exactly the same about any experience. Thoughts, feelings and backgrounds are just a few of the factors that impact how each individual sees the world and how they experience anything.
DIGC330 has already provided this shift for me, by watching Battle Royal ll: Requiem (2003) and Akira (1988). While previously I felt my knowledge of film was comprehensive, these films have totally changed my understanding of the medium. They have demonstrated that there is more to the genre then Hollywood, and by extension more than the culturally-exclusive framework I had been approaching film through.
Feeling like a kid all over again whos discovering film for the first time, my entire language being challenged. Yet this is the ideal starting point for auto-ethnographic research.
- Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 10th August 2017, http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095