Am I an Ethnographer?

Autoethnography is a term I have only become familiar through the duration of DIGC330. According to the prescribed reading, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, is described as a phenomena that seeks to systematically analyses personal experience to understand cultural experience (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). There are reflexive elements to this including how we understand our internal emotions and interpretive meanings produces by personal engagements with the culture. This is a documented personal experience and interaction that makes us consider political, social and cultural meanings; but then it is how we make sense of it. This direct personal engagement is then documented and understood by the way we enact the world and can be presented through articles, videos, blog posts or even tweets. As a reader to an Autoethnography document, this gives insight towards the writers personal experience which is most definitely different from your own, but encompasses elements that they could have found genuine, confronting or disconcerting which would vary from individual to individual. The article discusses this is terms of an “in depth and intimate understanding of peoples experiences with emotionally charged and sensitive topics”  (Ellis, Kiesinger & Tillmann-Healy, 1997, p.121).

On a personal note, I gave my autoethnographic perspective on last week’s Screen and discussion through ‘tweets’ documenting my experience. The viewing was ‘State of Play (2013)’ a documentary about South Korean professional video gamers. E-sports is something I am familiar with, however I had never involved myself with the world of Korean e-sports so I took to twitter to give my subjective understanding from my personal cultural framework.

At first I posted a video of my familiarity with e-sports as it is not something, and how the team introductions are something I find interesting.


Then a quote from the documentary which I can only presume through translation and different cultural force behind words, that this ended up being quite humorous for me, being an Australian, you would most likely never hear something say a quote like this.


There are some critiques for authoethnography as outlined in the text. There are concerns for validity and credibility of the autoethnographer and if their giving their actual experience and using factual evidence. This in turn has an effect on the audience as experiences of the reader’s subjective viewpoint and the world they are exploring do not match up (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). So you need to question, is this an authentic response I am reading? But we do need to remember that they are just subjective viewpoints in a world of methodological viewpoints that are not accurate scientific data, but rather personal encounters with the exploration of a different culture. Maybe I was being culturally insensitive with my tweets? E-sports are taken very seriously in Korea and it was something I was making a joke of. Or maybe I just have a different perspective to you due to my different cultural context.


Ellis, Carolyn; Kiesinger, Christine E. & Tillmann-Healy, Lisa M. 1997. Interactive interviewing: Talking about emotional experience. In Rosanna Hertz Ed., Reflexivity and voice (pp.119-149). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 10th August 2017,


  1. Some really interesting points discussed. I think that autoethnography methodologies are subjective but can definitely assist in determining scientific data. I think your tweets are genuine reflections of your own personal experience of another and yeah, Ellis makes point that they can be confronting or disconcerting. Your point raised about the translation got me thinking about how different cultures have their own little sayings (slang/ phrases) that would in fact be hard to translate to another. Words or phrases that have an understood and inferred meaning to those who use / hear it everyday but to others, they would need an explanation. Especially if it is needed to be translated to completely different language like in this milk case. Like if I were to say, “streuth mate, you’re a bloody duffer,” and then translate that into say, Japanese, due to some the use of slang, this could make it difficult. I think the humour comes from the need for a literal translation (which is what I believe we got with the mothers milk).


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