Autoethnography: How it all relates

For this week’s post, I will be looking at the concept of autoethnography as a methodology and considering how my individual research approach is being guided and framed by this methodology to better understand my own research and my own learning.

The term autoethnography as described by Ellis, Adams and Bochner means “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.” Ellis and Adams also describe the autoethnographic process as being a way to communicate and tell a story (Ellis, Adams 2006)

“Autoethnography allows the researcher to move beyond traditional methods of writing, by using narrative, poetry, stream-of-consciousness, displays of artifacts, photographs, drawings, and live performances. (Hesse-Biber and Leavy, 2008)
Relating to the above quote, I will also be moving beyond the traditional methods of writing and will be making use of a digital artefact with the use of Instagram and the arrangement of images to show the process of my research.

When thinking about the blogs that I will be writing over the next 4 weeks, I will be using this term to do my research and really understand Japanese fashion on Instagram and the ways in which this culture has not only impacted Eastern societies, but also Western cultures and societies. My individual research will be specifically guided by the autoethnography processes as I will be thinking about not only what I am seeing and learning, but will also be talking and analysing my own experiences and feelings about the culture.

By using this methodology I hope that I will be able to better understand the culture, and may even possibly learn more about my own cultural identity and the ways in which this has been formed. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be asking many questions that will be taken from the DIGC lectures and the readings especially that of Ellis, Adams and Bocher (2011) and Sheridan (2012). These will help me to consistently be following the process of autoethnography and to produce more solid research.

The main points that I will be discussing over the next 3 blogs include:

  • Japanese culture – Body Image (The Skinny Model)
  • The Universal Notion of the “Selfie” – Traditional & Cultural Poses, Professional and Amateur Shots
  • Production and Consumption of Japanese Fashion Culture on Instagram

If anybody has any suggestions or anything that they think I should include in any of these posts, please let me know!!


Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1.

Sheridan, R, “Autoethnography: Researcher as Participant: An Introduction to Autoethnography” Teaching for Success Journal, accessed 09/09/2014



  1. Hey Hannah,
    I thought it was a really good idea to really delve into what autoethnography is and how you are able to apply it to your research topic. Reading your post really helped me understand how to approach the methodology in terms of my own research! So thanks for that 🙂
    I really like the three topics you’ve listed that you’ll be exploring for the next few weeks.
    I think they’ll be really interesting to look into and really help you to understand Japanese culture in terms of fashion!
    If you’d like anything further, I think it would be cool to contrast the body image topic with media representation of women and models in Western media (such as magazines like Cosmopolitan etc.) and see if there are any similarities or differences… And to relate this back to autoethnography, you could apply them to your own body image perception (like how they might make you feel… If you were willing to get that personal!) I would really like to read something like that!
    Good luck 🙂


  2. Hey Hannah, interesting post. I think you have helped a lot of people understand how autoethnography fits in with their digital artefact so well done on that front. As Keely raised, it would be interesting to compare the issue of skinny models in Australia and Japan. Are there the same controversies in the fashion industries in Japan as they are in Australia? Maybe with your selfie topic you could compare celebrities in Japan to celebrities in the west i.e. is there a Kim Kardashian equivalent in Japan? With Kim Kardashian she controls the angles of the selfie, do Japanese celebrities have similar approaches to their selfie etiquette? I hope these ideas or questions are useful for your digital artefact.

    – Caitlin


  3. Hi Caitlin,

    I am glad to see that someone else is doing a similar topic to my own. I like that you have strayed from the digital gaming, manga and music world with me because I was feeling quite alone!! Your digital artefact sounds well thought through and the use of instagram will make it easy for you to demonstrate your progressive learning!

    Japanese fashion is certainly one of the most outlandish in the world and understanding where it derived is so interesting! Why the fascination with being so much like a character? It is also laced throughout their culture in many aspects, not just fashion! I have been to Japan twice and I adore the country. It is so colourful and vibrant and there is a multitude of weird and wacky things to do! Something that I found interesting, was that in a region in Tokyo called Harajuku, there were so little Harajuku style people! It seems as if that would be too cliché. There were dozens of stores with trinkets and things so it may have become more of a tourist zone, though something else you’ll find there is a mass of Hello Kitty merchandise. Another part of not only Japanese but Chinese and Korean culture, which is inescapable and also baffles me that it is largely enjoyed by the adult population.

    I look forward to reading about the Japanese ideals on body image next week! I hope you found my little recollection of Japan interesting!


  4. Hey Hannah,

    I have been reading through all of these posts on autho-ethnography as a method and realised I should probably work that out for my project :/ so thanks for the help on that topic! I love Japanese culture and fashion so super interesting topic, the visuals seem so important and Instagram is such a great platform to capture that, I can’t wait to see all of those images! Not sure if you had stumbled upon this site already but it list a heap of Japanese street fashion grammers to follow, hope it helps!


  5. Hi Hannah Like you I am trying to come to terms with converting my personal thoughts and experiences into a form of research which is quite abstract compared to what I am used to. It is comparing the ideas I have with the cultural examples I have found. It has been difficult and having not engaged in autoethnographic research before I am finding it a little slow to learn. Your post helped me a great deal.


  6. I definitely think it is so important to speak about your research from your own experiences and point of view. I think you gain an extra bit of information and a better sense of understanding when people speak from their own personal point of view. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your research and auto-ethnography into the fashion world 🙂


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