Author: annikaschweigh

North Korea – P2

My previous post discussed the methodology of my auto ethnographic study and the topic of North Korea.

Growing up and during my late teens I watched lots of documentaries on YouTube and streaming websites such as Netflix and I was always drawn to the experiences of others in another country or situation I haven’t seen myself in. This led me into the realm of Asian culture and as my interested heightened I eventually found myself searching for documentaries on North Korea although my experience never went further than this.

As mentioned in my last post my personal opinion was heavily influenced by what I had seen in the media and often the documentaries would challenge this. I was almost confused about the country and the circumstances that have arisen with the US and military action. In my last post I talked about the new articles that I had seen online and how they all involved someone negative or were North Korea going ‘against’ the US and western societies. This made me feel slightly disheartened as I had watched how cut off the people who lived in north Korea were from the rest of the world and how we or western media grouped the country into one with negative impressions when i the north Korean government, western media and governments that depict and influence the public perception with little regard for the individuals living in such extreme poverty and harsh circumstances.

Drawing from Ellis et al (2011) “When researchers do ethnography, they study a culture’s relational practices, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences for the purpose of helping insiders (cultural members) and outsiders (cultural strangers) better understand the culture (MASO, 2001)”

I believe that the public have a shared experience when reading and views news pieces about North Korea. The news stories talked about in my last post are almost meant to scare the public.

“North Koreas new warheads could penetrate missile shield, japan says”.

“North Korea’s Kim Jong-un oversaw test of ‘super large multiple rocket launcher”

“North Korea Launches 2 Missiles, it’s 7th weapons test in a month”

In my personal experience I think that there is a lot more to learn from North Korea and its negative public perceptions. I as a viewer have been influenced by each news story listened to or read and each documentary watched, this indirectly and directly alters my perceptions on the country and the people.

References (2019). North Korea. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].

the Guardian. (2019). North Korea | World news | The Guardian. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019]

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at:

North Korean Real and Raw

I will be utalising Youtube for Documentaries revolving around guests and ‘westerners’ visiting North Korea and there experience or non experience with the Locals and the Culture. From previous viewings I believe the edited and ‘see what we want you to see’ aspect of many documentaries means this will be used as secondary support to raw and real footage within North Korea that is yet to be sourced (field experience). Many of the existing documentaries offer very personal opinions as this is what for of documentation is presented on Youtube, it is interesting to see others interpretation of the cultural experience. I am looking forward to investigating this further and viewing raw footage to provide better engagement for myself as an auto-ethnographer.

Viewed North Korean documented experiences of others bellow.


I will also be looking at podcasts to give a different perspective on North Korea and how the world views them. Specifically Citations Needed Podcast Episode 02: The North Korea Memory Hole (see bellow) 


From what i can see so far by looking at newspaper articles and online features about North Korea everything seems to have negative or ‘dangerous’ connotations towards the country, I am not saying this is wrong however it does seem very one sided and USA driven. For example the top 3 articles about North Korea as featured on the New York Times online website are all about Missiles, testing weapons and losing hope. This is all in the space of less than a month.

Screen Shot 2019-09-03 at 9.14.02 pm.png

The Guardian also shows explosions and talk of rocket launchers.

Screen Shot 2019-09-03 at 9.17.41 pm.png

A field experience will be done following with some more research into each of these sources and a range of new media sources to be used as secondary support.

For the final DA I am leaning towards creating a podcast accompanied by the contextual essay, this will allow more of a discussion format to be witheld throughout the project and I believe it will give the opportunity for my personal experience to be represented as best possible.


YouTube. (2019). Alone in an Empty North Korean Airport. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].

SoundCloud. (2019). Episode 02: The North Korea Memory Hole. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].

YouTube. (2018). My North Korean Holiday (North Korea Documentary) – Real Stories. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019]. (2019). North Korea. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].

the Guardian. (2019). North Korea | World news | The Guardian. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].

All about perspective

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Akira, a Japanese anime film created in 1988 is the central film for this week’s post.

Akira was my personal first experience with an anime film, Akira follows the story of Tetsuo, a teenager apart of a local biking ‘gang’ who feuds with another gang until he is abducted and experimented on by the Japanese government and more of less destroys Tokyo and is taken to another dimension by Akira another supernatural being.

According to Ellis’s definition (Auto ethnography is 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, 2004; HOLMAN JONES, 2005) I believe that my personal perspective or view of anime prior to this week’s class was close to nothing at all, I didn’t think about it until it was sat in front of me, which actually led to a slight fascination on my behalf although my westernised taste for movies and film did make me question the legitimacy of the film from the beginning. However, following many tweets and google searches I finally felt the experience an eye opening one. After some research I have realised how much of an influence this film has had on western culture including big time Hollywood celebrity Kanye West who references the Akira movie and credits it for much of his creative work. Akira’s story line reminded me of many other superhero and villain movies evident within Hollywood, the villain (Tetsuo) has been pushed or bullied into being resentful and abuses his new found power when the hero saves the day to the detriment of the originally abused/bullied villain.

Akira is known to have many underlying messages and meanings along with lots of other animated films. This video explains a central hidden meaning behind the film and breaks down each aspect, this video helped to improve my understanding of the film and how it has become such so popular in western society.




Reddit is another great site where people give their experience of viewing the film, circumstances and more. See bellow:


Following my viewing of this movie I have gained a better understanding of the ‘hype’ or popularity surrounding Anime, I believe it brings real world issues and culture to consumers in a ‘fun’ and ‘artistic’ way with exaggeration and dialogue. One scene that heightened my attention was the government or ‘police’ hurting Tetsuo and how the brutality is evident cross culture.



Absence in week one has resulted in blog post being written on week two’s movie ‘Sate of Play ‘and my live tweeting experience as directed by tutor.

Although this was not my first live tweeting experience it was definitely out of my comfort zone. I would not consider myself a multitasker and attempting to pay attention to the screen and movie presented all while tweeting and researching. Following the suggestion to pre write or prepare some information about the movie prior to the tutorial I will be doing this before week three, so I am able to pay closer attention to the ongoing film.

‘State of Play’ created in 2013 was an interesting ethnographic film. As someone who is new to the word of Esports and gaming it was interesting to see the perspective of the gamers and I was shocked to hear they are required to play or ‘train’ for 10-12 hours per day. The players were a part of a team, which was an interesting perspective to many regular games that are played solo. The team won and lost together, they had a captain and attended tournaments much like a regular professional sporting team. The South Korean culture seemed so far from what I know in western society and only when the team attended an esports even in Los Angeles did I realise the enormity of the sport. The South Korean family views on gaming was something else that shocked me, following one of my tweets referring to a comment one of the gamers fathers made (“your brain is not very good”) a fellow BCM320 student who is Korean replied stating that this is common, the shaming of one another and from a senior and went on to say that she was not fond of the practice, which is interesting. I also found the documentary similar to those of many western celebrity documentaries, I even came across a tweet which compared it to that of ‘One Direction’.
The entire class live tweeting morale was different to past live tweeting experiences, everyone seemed to be engaging with one another and not just ‘tweeting to themselves’. Through this digital medium, I believe the class engaged more than they would have in a general class setting. Many tweets were mentioning the players health, that of their eyes, mind and sun exposure problems. This would have to be addressed as mentioned above the players are spending an excessive amount of time indoors and are bound to impact their health in the long run, this however was not shown in the documentary besides one player attending the gym. I am looking forward to next week’s live tweeting experience and the film to see how the interaction compares.