Take a Look at Yourself


The first step in autoethnographic research is taking a look at yourself, and understanding that everything that has happened to you makes you who you are, and impacts how you see the world around you. The second step is accepting that you can’t do anything to change that.

I’m sure the majority of people that read this, (my fellow DIGC330 students) are probably a little tired of reading the definition of autoethnography given in the Ellis reading (for everyone else, click the link in my references, it presents a vastly superior explanation of what auto ethnography is), so instead I’ll give my best go at a definition. Autoethnography is an approach to the research of human cultures, in which the researcher immerses themselves in that culture, and uses self-reflection to explore their own personal experience, while linking that with other qualitative research.

My first experience with autoethnography was last year in another one of my classes, Research Practices in Media and Communication. It was love at first sight. It just made so much sense to me, as much as anyone tries to be perfectly unbiased and analytical in qualitative research, it is an impossible task as a human being. Knowing that, isn’t it better to be open in showing where your potential biases are, and more importantly challenge your own thinking.

As I was thinking about autoethnography this week, I remembered doing modern history in year 11, and my teacher consistently writing on my assignments, “You need to include blah.” (Obviously she didn’t actually say blah) I had assumed that I didn’t need to include certain information because I figured it was common knowledge. This was the first time I really thought about how people had different backgrounds, and how that impacts a person.

I’m super keen to conduct my own piece of autoethnographic research on Japanese stand-up. I absolutely love stand-up comedy. I probably watch at least three new specials a week. If I had to go on mastermind stand-up would be my specialist subject. In saying all of this though, the comedians I’ve watched are mostly from America, the UK, and Australia, so I’m curious to expand my horizons through my research on stand-up in Japan. How is it different to what I’ve already seen? What are the topics/themes? What style of comedy is predominant? How popular is it? These are all things I hope to figure out in my research.


Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1.


  1. Hi Hayden! I really enjoyed your simplified definition of what an Autoethnography is, especially after reading Ellis’ long and never-ending version! I think its also important to point out that it is about learning about ourselves in the process and analysing our initial responses to the exposure and why we are reacting in a certain way. You mirror analogy is a good way of putting things because Autoethnography really is about self-reflection as much as it is about the ‘other’ culture.


  2. Reading this makes me realise that I have been performing autoethnography for a long time since I utilise a Western perspective when looking at Japanese comedy (general, not just stand-up, and yes I have mostly been watching Western comedians too). From such perspective, I found Japanese comedy to be abit crude, wordplay eccentric and really upfront, which is very much the opposite to their traditional reserved culture. I find myself wondering how would a Japanese person feel watching Bill Burr (an acted Bogan, or in Burger speech, whitetrash) or Dave Chappelle and his foul-mouthed, oppressed African American persona.


  3. Straight off the bat, amazing gif to open up on. And you raise excellent points on how impossible it is for a person to go and evaluate something without adding any of their own ideas and context to it, excluding people who sat in a white room eating saltine biscuits until they saw that thing. And your idea to watch Japanese stand up comedians is brilliant. To see how different jokes land in different places. As someone who has performed stand-up comedy, even a change of Sydney to Newtown can make a world of difference in jokes landing. I hope you do well, and report back with some great info.

    Liked by 1 person

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