Autoethnography & Akira (1988)

MILLIE SWAIN

Autoethnography is a form of research “that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.” (Ellis et al. 2011).

The concept of autoethnography is underpinned by the idea that research is not value free and is influenced by the personal, social and cultural experiences of those doing the research.

According to Ellis et al. (2011), the theory is grounded in the “crisis of confidence” inspired by postmodernism in the 1980s which prompted a resistance to colonialist approaches to research and introduced opportunities to reform social science. It resists the ‘objective’, ‘neutral’ and ‘universal’ narratives that these power structures produced, and instead acknowledges the complex relationships between authors, audiences, and texts.

As Pitard (2017) would say, for a reader to trust
the perspective of a qualitative researcher, “the disclosure of the
researcher’s position in relation to the data is vital.”

As a method, ethnographic research requires…

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