Throughout the three years that I have studied at UOW, we have been taught a range of research and writing techniques, yet I had never been introduced to Autoethnography. The idea of implementing your own emotions and cultural background in your research seemed to go against every informative text that I had written. However, the more I thought about this type of writing, I realised that I had been using this method for writing my blogs since first year. I had been using my personal experiences in order to gain an in-depth understanding of cultural experience.
Autoenthnography is defined by Ellis et al (2011) as “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno).” So pretty much, it is the study of a culture through the individual’s on experiences when immersed in that culture.
Reading through many of the blog posts on Autoethnography, people have been writing about how they have experiences ethnography. Sonny’s post described how his travels to Japan and parts of South-East Asia allowed him to use an autoethnographic approach without even knowing. He states how he immersed himself in all aspects of their cultures, thus developing his understanding of the characteristics of that culture. Unfortunately, I have not yet travelled overseas therefore I have not experienced this culturally immersive experience that many have. With this thought in mind, I wondered how I would be able to experience autoethnography without being physically amongst a culture – a challenge that I will explore through my analysis of K-pop in following weeks.
Moreover, autoethnography isn’t just about writing and publishing a diary or recount of your cultural experiences. “It is about making your story more valid as a researcher. You have a set of theoretical and methodological tools and a research literature to use” (Ellis et al, 2011). The beauty of autoethnographies is that they seek to produce aesthetic and evocative descriptions of personal and interpersonal experience. Thus, by being able to produce an engaging experience, it allows for a wider reach and more diverse mass audiences than that of traditional research.
The reading Autoethnography: An Overview has assisted in developing my understanding of what autoethnography is and piqued my curiosity. I look forward to extending and challenging myself with this form of research when analysing Asian culture, particularly the Pop Asia and K-pop scene.