Author: Jasmyn Connell

A Bollywood Affair: A Digital Autoethnography


Ellis et al. describe autoethnography as “retrospectively and selectively writ[ing] about epiphanies” (2011, p. 4). As such, ‘A Bollywood Affair’ is a pastiche of digital media which outlines the respective experiences of a cultural insider, and cultural outsider as they experience Bollywood cinema. View the project below.

Digital Artifacts

Vlog: Bollywood for Dummies

Digi Reviews


Central to the autoethnographic process is reflexive thinking, which Pitard (2017, pp. 9-10) categorises as either personal or epistemological:

Moreover, Guillemin and Gillam (2004) propose that autoethnographers need to engage with reflexive thinking consider “ethically important moments” throughout their research. This methodology became incorporated into my ethnographic process wherein I reflected on my projects impact on research participant(s) (Sehel) as well as avoiding “ethical tensions” (Guillemin and Gillam 2004, p. 278). Primarily, this meant acknowledging epistemological constraints and reframing the research question to remove “East” and “West”, thus, detaching my work from contributing…

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Buddhism: Spirituality, Mudras, and Fo Guang Shan

Group Digital Artefact, presented using mixed media. By Josh, Allanah and Jasmyn.


Because autoethnography is a deeply personal reflection, we felt that it was best to explain our research as a narrative through layered accounts, so here we go…

Recently, Josh, Allanah and I conducted an autoethnographic study about Buddhism. Honestly, we chose to do so, because there was a Buddhist temple nearby to our place of study, and because all of us had little to no prior experience with Buddhism. Thus, this autoethnographic journey would be one of discovery, and unexpected epiphanies.

So, we knew we wanted to study Buddhism, but the question was: how?

First, we had to identify our cultural frames and how this may affect the research process.

As a group, we brought with us vastly different individual cultural frames (below). But one this was for sure: it was important to acknowledge that our exposure to the Buddhist faith was approached from a research perspective, so admittedly the…

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Bollywood: More Than Just Musicals


The practice of reflexivity throughout the research process highlights the importance of declaring and taking responsibility for our positioning as researchers.

Pitard J (2017 p. 9)

‘Reflexive’ thinking is a phrase which is often found alongside ‘autoethnography’. As Pitard 2017 (p.9-10) explains, there are two types: personal and epistemological, which are explained below.

In this blog post, I will be analysing my narrated experience (click to read) through the scopes of both personal and epistemological reflexivity.


Firstly, my original narrative experience lacks an integral step in my autoethnographic journey: a robust explanation of my cultural frame. So, I must acknowledge the cultural frame which shapes my values, experiences and assumptions, by answering questions posed by Pitard (2017 p. 10).

“What do I believe underpins my knowledge of life?”

I primarily interact with the world through my screens. My phone screens, laptop screens, self service screens – you name it…

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A Bollywood Affair: Digital Asia Autoethnography



“Practicing ethnography means shifting one’s notion of center and periphery and coping with the complexity of multiple centers with multiple peripheries.”

Alsop , 2002 p. 1

Aslop attains that “self-reflexivity can take various forms and shapes such as asking ourselves about our frame of mind, about our power position in the network of cultures, about the ways in which we produce knowledge, and about our notion of center and periphery” (2002, p. 7). So, to better understand a culture, I must learn the experiences of its insiders and experience it myself, as an outsider (Ellis, 2011).

When I was considering a topic to focus on, I wanted to do something I am passionate about and feel that I have sufficient cultural knowledge of in my own context. This way, I can accurately compare my cultural experiences and generate epiphanies about the many unknowns I will encounter.


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Akira (1988): A Reflection


Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. 

Ellis et al. (2011)

This week, I watched an anime film for the first time. With my only previous experience of Anime being watching Yugioh at a young age, I didn’t approach this screening with much understanding of the Japanese culture or anime genre.

So, live-tweeting greatly enriched my viewing experience. In real-time I was able to learn fun-facts about the movie’s production, its cultural context, and how it has influenced both the Anime genre and Western popular culture. I was able to have discussions about the themes and make memes about what was happening [below].


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Who You Gonna Call? Host Hunters

I must admit, I came into this movie-viewing with zero expectations. But, after watching Forensic Files on small hotel TVs for the last 3 weeks I was dying for a good movie. And boy did I get one.

Today, I spent the afternoon live-tweeting my experience of viewing The Host, directed by John Ho Bong. It was an epic (and disjointed) thriller where a father would stop at nothing to save his little girl from the grips of a mutated monster.

However, the disconnect between the government and the people was the most shocking part of the film. As I live-tweeted, I found that my memes slowly turned into political observations. The misinformation used by the government (SPOILER I mean – there was no virus?!?!?!) to control the perception of the chaos that erupted was somehow more horrifying than the giant mutated fish that was eating people. I mean, it had more regard for human life than those in power did and that’s saying a lot.

For most of my life, I have admired and closely studied film and special effects. Because of this, I have a habit of critiquing a film, rather than watch it. But, The Host really drew me in and I genuinely enjoyed it. I truly appreciated the effort it would have taken to keep the monster on screen using CGI for as long as it appeared. The version I viewed was dubbed in English, so the voice acting was not great but it really helped me understand the plot and dialogue.

Culturally, I am emersed wholly in Western entertainment and ideals. My whole life I have lived in Australia, which takes much of its cultural influences from the United States – especially in the entertainment industry. However, one of my father’s favourite past times was to surf the movie channels, and many times we would find ourselves on the World Movies channel, watching a foreign film. One of my favourites to come from this tradition is Om Shanti Om, a film I still regularly watch.

In this way, I am accustomed to the differences between the films in my popular culture and those such as The Host. Although this was a horror film, there was still an element of comedy / physical humour which is not often seen in American style horrors. The goofiness of the characters makes them equally frustrating and loveable, and it reminds us that they are only human. This is something that is often missed in the brooding action heroes that we see in many Western films.

Watching The Host was refreshing, and it has me excited to watch more films like it.