Author: sunnycommandeur

Urban Farming in Asia: An Autoethnographical Analysis

Sunny Commandeur

My recent foray into urban farming in Asia as part of an autoethnographic research project led to multiple epiphanies, unique to me through various personal contexts.

The autoethnographic research methodology I applied fit best with what Ellis et al. (2011) describes as layered accounts. This methodology emphasises ‘the procedural nature of research’, focusing on ‘the author’s experience alongside data, abstract analysis, and relevant literature’.

Charmaz (2008) states that simultaneous data collection and analysis encourage researchers to follow emergent leads systematically. These strategies include ‘comparing data, checking hunches, refining emerging ideas, and constructing abstract categories from data analysis’. Essentially, my interpretation and reaction to the autoethnographical field sites (logs, academic articles and youtube videos) was valuable information in itself, allowing me to steer my research in the direction my epiphanies took me.

I never had a close interest in farming; while it runs in my family, there is a geographical disconnect between…

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Urban Farming in Asia: Two Ends of a Spectrum

Sunny Commandeur

Urban farming is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas. It has become increasingly relevant in the face of overpopulation and widespread nutritional deficiencies across urban populations, especially across Asia. There are two main interpretations of the concept, with the main difference being socioeconomic status: Urban farming by choice, and urban farming by necessity.

Urban farming by choice seems similar across wealthier countries. The more advanced countries get, the less food they produce. There is a high tech expansion of decentralised vertical farms on the sides and roofs of city skyscrapers, and futuristic visions for rotating farm towers in rich dense cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

raffles-city-rooftop-gardenA rooftop farm in Singapore

This video details the current situation in Singapore,  where only 1% of its land is available for agriculture, and 90% of its food comes from external sources. As someone that enjoys cooking, I’ve become increasingly…

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The Autoethnographic Methodology: Two Schools of Thought

Sunny Commandeur

This post draws upon two works; Autoethnography: An Overview (Ellis et al 2011), and Analytic Autoethnography (Anderson, Leon 2006).

Autoethnography, as I have previously begun to explore, is an approach to writing that analyses one’s personal experience with another culture, in an effort to treat reseach as a socially conscious act. There is an acknowledgement of the writer’s personal context, and the way it shapes the findings, interpretation and presentation of the work.

As a combination of autobiography and ethnography, there are two main schools of thought regarding the author’s methodology: evocative and analytical. Much autoethnographical writing tends to exist on a scale between the two, but there are differentiating factors that can be used to categorise research.

Evocative autoethnography refers to a more autobiagraphical approach to writing. Ellis defines the process as:

  • A researcher experiences culture as a participant observer
  • They collate their experience using hindsight, looking…

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Interpreting South Korean Film ‘The Host’ (2006) from a Foreign Perspective

Sunny Commandeur

Autoethnography is both a process and a product, an approach to writing that analyses one’s personal experience, in order to understand a cultural experience. It aims to take into consideration a writer’s personal context, making note of the impact this has on the method, interpretation, and presentation of research or writing.

Autoethnography exists in a grey area between autobiography and ethnography, the exact balance varying greatly between writers. Critiques of the format thus range from the pull of art and science at odds with each other, walking the line between being scientifically rigourous, and aesthetically artistic.

Personally, my style of writing to leans away from the scholarly, towards a more autobiographical perspective. Thus, this post is more of a personal response to The Host (2006) than a thorough examination. Context-wise, I’m an Australian, straight white male with European ancestry, with a typically Eurocentric perspective.


The Host (2006)

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