I really don’t have any experience with autoethnography. My experience with university projects thus far has always had me looking from a critical point of view by further removing all of my emotions, ideas, essentially removing myself entirely from the task I was researching. I had this drilled into me through high school and it has only been through university that this idea of a ‘correct’ writing style was challenged.
The article written by Ellis et al. defines autoethnography 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)” (Ellis. C et al, 2011). This method challenges prior techniques of research and writing as it “treats the research as a political, socially-just and socially-conscious act” (Ellis et al, 2011).
What I found interesting and important from the reading in regards to trying to understand how to write an autoethnography was the differences between autobiographies and autoethnographies. The reading by Ellis explains that an autobiography “should be aesthetic and evocative, engage readers, and use conventions of storytelling such as character, scene, and plot development and/or chronological or fragmented story progression” (Ellis. C et al, 2011)
An autoethnography which should have the purpose of creating a “thick description” of a culture. The purpose of this description is to help facilitate understanding of a culture for insiders and outsiders, and is created by (inductively) discerning patterns of cultural experience—repeated feelings, stories, and happenings—as evidenced by field notes, interviews, and/or artifacts.” (Ellis. C et al, 2011)
It’ll be interesting to explore the idea that writing with personal context isn’t exactly the wrong way to research and write, that it’s just different and maybe in that way it’ll open up my writing to a new audience. I think the main problem I will face is balance, balancing between personal input and critical research. My writing has always ever been strictly one or the other, e.g. high school assignments vs. my travel diary that I wrote in through my travels overseas.
This next task should be both interesting and challenging for me through my research and writing. My writing has been challenged since my first year of university so this should be fun!
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol.12, no.1, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>.