DIGC330, Digital Asia, where we will be conducting an autoethnographic investigation into the production and consumption of Asian digital media, communication technologies, as well as the industry and culture as a whole, from a local, national and personal perspective.
“Woah, what the heck does that even mean?”
To me, autoethnography is research based on the researchers personal observations of the ‘mundane’ within a culture, and then, an analytical narrative of these observations in the hope of understanding certain aspects of said culture. These observations should be “aesthetic and evocative”, utilising storytelling conventions in order to engage readers.
“Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience.” – Carolyn Ellis, 2011.
Ellis (2011), explains that “When researchers do autoethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity.”
So, for this post I will be commencing an autoethnographic investigation of the ‘State of Play’ documentary. This will involve my personal observations of the documentary, as well as the way the Twitter-feed reacted, and why these observations are of importance to my research.
State of Play follows a champion pro-gamer, Lee Jae-dong, as he loses, triumphs and struggles through the world of South-Korean professional E-sports. In the true sense of autoethnographic research, below are my initial observations in experiencing the film.
- Gaming isn’t seen as play, it is seen as work.
- It is a serious sport, (again, more than a ‘game’) with massive fan groups, intense training, huge stadiums and LOTS of money.
- The players still have decisions to make: High school or Pro-gaming.
- Extremely demanding career. 10 hours of training a day, away from friends and family, some choose to leave school.
- To add on to the demands observation: He is constantly sleeping at school (know that feel bro).
- The average pro-gamer retires at 24. This is incredibly early for someone to end a career. Is this due to slower reaction times as people get older, or is there an underlining concern of longevity for such a career.
An interesting experience I had throughout the viewing of the documentary was watching the twitter feed react to certain things. Each user would come at an issue with their own perspectives coming into play. This demonstrated to me how Autoethnography works. For example, some people were interested in the technology used for the huge competitions shown in the documentary, others were concerned with the gender roles within the sport. Further subjects included: Clothing, training, and even food.
Having experienced competitive online games for a lot of my youth, many of these being popular within Asia, (League of Legends, DOTA) the notion of E-sports was not entirely new or strange to me. I knew about the professionalism of the industry. The money, the stadiums, the massive fan bases and even the team houses are common place within E-sports and I had come across these circumstances through the games I had casually followed.
What interested me within State of Play was the family aspect shown through the documentary. This brought with it a historical and spiritual culture which I had not being involved with before. These notions created an authentic, traditionally Asian ‘feel’ to the film. For me, this added a new and intriguing experience to E-sports, one which previously I had not experienced or even considered.