A little more about autoethnography


One Punch Man.jpeg

One Punch Man, a television series I have been watching since the  viewing of Godzilla (1954)

Four weeks into the semester and a few autoethnography readings under my belt, I am coming to terms with what this method of research entails. Interestingly, this week I read that autoethnography began as an answer to the crisis of representation in the late modern anthropology (Cohen 2011). Autoethnography as mentioned in my last blog post, steers away from canonical research and incorporates thick descriptions of personal and interpersonal experiences (Ellis et al 2011).

Erick Cohen in his autoethnography of the 2011 Bangkok Flood, describes his personal and interpersonal experience perfectly. I enjoyed Cohen’s research because he clearly explains his understanding of autoethnography, his own personal background, the experience/ situation he accounted and his reflection on the experience.

Like Cohen, in my last blog post I touched on my personal background in reference to Aslop’s (2002) Home and Away: Self-Reflective Auto/Ethnography. However, I did not mention that I had seen limited films that have been produced in Asia, as well as limited films with subtitles. This is potentially why I was confused with the smaller details in the film. Despite my confusion, I was able to follow the storyline from beginning to end because I was familiar with the overall plot (big unknown creature threatens earth, people are scared, a method of defence is formed, creature is killed). I found that people who had watched a lot of anime or similar Asian films understood Godzilla (1954) more and were able to note elements or aspects that I did not personally see the first time watching the film.

Since first week I have been watching One Punch Man, an animated television series that originated from a Japanese web comic. I have noticed similar tropes, framing and styles between the animated series and Godzilla.  Characters being over dramatic is definitely a common occurrence as well as the reference to war/ violence and the fast paced nature of plot lines.

After re-reading what I had noted about Godzilla in my last blog post and reading others posts I became aware of the similarities and differences in the ‘epiphanies’ encountered.  The live tweeting of our comments and opinions, added to the overall auto-ethnographic experience. The reflection of Godzilla would have been entirely different, if Chris had stopped the film to discuss something every time he thought it was worth noting. Throughout high school we would watch films such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, my teacher constantly stopped and started the film sharing with us his opinions, hindering each students train of thought (crisis of representation?).

Next time, it would be interesting to see if comments by students would differ if the environment in which we were viewing the film was altered. For example, instead of sitting communally in a class room, we would all stream the film from our laptops. I felt a little uncomfortable at the start of watching Godzilla because I am used to (like many others) watching Netflix in the confinement of my own room.

I am also interested in the idea that dubbing/ subbing plays a big role in the way we watch and reflect on media. Prior to watching Godzilla, I had never contemplated the effects of subtitles on the viewing experience.  For my individual artefact I wish to pursue this interest in subtitles as well as  in understanding similarities and differences of people’s responses to similar texts.

Cohen, E. (2012) ‘Flooded: An Auto-Ethnography of the 2011 Bangkok Flood, ASEAS – Australian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 316-334. Further Reading: Russo, A., & Watkins, J. (2005, December 31).

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

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