Author: Madeleine

An Autoethnographic Analysis of Thai Lakorn

Madeleine Burkitt

A few weeks ago, my partner Andy and myself watched an episode of Thai Lakorn (Thai Soap Opera) and documented our thoughts, comments and feelings – all in the name of auto-ethnographic research. I wrote about it, and outlined the scope of my auto-ethnographic project here.

In this post, I’ll be reflexively analysing our documented experiences, drawing upon contextual research of Thai Lakorn and Khmer audiences in order to reach new understandings of cultural patterns and phenomena. I’ll not only be seeking to make sense of Cambodian audiences who view Thai Lakorn, but of my cultural self.

A sound analysis of our documented experience is not possible without embedding it broader contexts. To understand Thai Lakorn and Khmer audiences better, and thus be equipped to unpack my own assumptions, stereotypes and judgments, I researched the following questions. I’ve included a quick summary of each.

What is Thai Lakorn? What are…

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Thai Soap Operas, Khmer Audiences, Andy and Myself.

Madeleine Burkitt

My auto-ethnographic project is inspired by experiences I’ve had whilst travelling. When I look back on my travels through South East Asia in 2012 & 2013, I have a distinct memory – a feeling – of being perplexed by what seemed to be an obsession with what I thought was really bad, kind of corny, drama television. It was everywhere; long bus trips, cafes and restaurants, personal homes, shops… and it was enjoyed by seemingly everyone, from the young to the elderly.

I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand its appeal. It was a cultural language that was entirely foreign to me. So I’ve decided to revisit it and make sense of it, it’s audiences, and myself.

A little preparatory background research revealed some critical information. I discovered that the genre of television I had encountered was known as ‘Lakorn’, Thai for ‘Soap Opera’. What’s more, I learned that…

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Gojira, Post-War Japan and Autoethnography

Madeleine Burkitt

A few weeks ago, I watched Gojira, the original Japanese Godzilla production. I also documented the experience in an earlier post, noting my unmoderated thoughts and understanding of the text. The task that I undertook in this post was an initial step in autoethnography –  both a methodology and a product – wherein a researcher “systematically utilises personal experience to understand cultural experience “(Ellis et al. 2011). My analysing my own thought, inevitably informed by my past, culture, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and other cultural baggage –  I can produce meaningful research which “expands and opens up a wider lens on the world.” (Ellis, et. al 2011)

The film Gojira is set in post-WWII Japan, and is in Japanese language. As a 20-something Australian women in 2016, I’m firmly placed as the “cultural outsider” described by Ellis (et al 2011). In my documented notes, I can see that there were many instances (well…

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I Read About Autoethnography And Watched Gojira (1954). Here’s What Happened.

Madeleine Burkitt

We did two cool things in Digital Asia (DIGC330) last week. One of them was learning about autoethnography, a novel form of academic research characterised by an analysis of personal experience. The other was watching Gojira (1954), a Japanese ‘Godzilla’ film.



Autoethnography makes a whole lot of sense to me. I think I may have actually whispered “YES” aloud as I read Ellis’ text at one point. I aggressively highlighted the document. I took scribble notes that were entirely unhelpful because I wrote them too fast. Celebration of the subjective and personal in the academic space (and seemingly my own nerdiness) has reached its final form and I love it.

Markers of autoethnography include a rejection of “master, universal narratives,” of the objective researcher, of heteronormative-washed recounts, and of a reckless, insensitive approach to research ethics. These are of course all good things, but quite established concepts.


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