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Transcript of Autoethnography
Benefits (Chang, 2008)
1) offers a research method friendly to researchers and readers
2) enhances cultural understanding of self and others
3) it has the potential to transform self and others to motivate them to work toward
cross-cultural coalition building
Pitfalls (Chang, 2008)
1) excessive focus on self in isolation from others
self-indulgent introspection is likely to produce a self-exposing story
2) overemphasis on narration rather than analysis and cultural interpretation
stay focused on research purpose (link the personal and cultural)
3) exclusive reliance on personal memory and recalling as a data source
memory is selective and shaped...use internal data (memory) & external data
4) negligence of ethical standards regarding others in self-narratives
Do they own a story because they tell it?
5) inappropriate application of the label "autoethnography"
a study of the researchers own people (Hayano, 1979)
History: Realist or analytic tradition (Anderson, 2006; Ellis, 2004)
- Following World War I... Robert Park's University of Chicago students
were encouraged to pursue "sociological involvement in settings close to
their personal lives, arenas with which they had a significant degree of
self-identification" (p. 375)
- Everett Hughes...Second Chicago School students (1947-1960) "turned an ethnographic
eye to their workplaces and other settings they were personally involved" (p. 375)
- Zurcher (1960-1980) advocated autobiographical situated and self-observant research
- Heider (1975) "auto-ethnography" ... self meant informants... not the ethnographer
- David Hayano (1979) "autoethnography" a study of the ethnographer's "own people"
researcher goes "native" ....... his study: professional poker players
- Ellis (1980's) sociological introspection, emotional sociology, personal narrative
(1995) first used the term autoethnography
- Reed-Daahay (1997) "native anthropology" "ethnic autobiography" "autobiographical
- Ellis & Bochner (2000)
Forms of & approaches to Autoethnography (Ellis, 2004)
Interest falls into 4 categories
COMMON THEME: self-focus
1. reflexive ethnographies
authors use their own experiences in the culture reflexively to bend back on self and look more deeply at self-other interaction
2. texts by complete-member researchers
explore groups of which they already are members or in which they have become full members with complete identification and acceptance
3. personal narratives
some aspect of their experience in daily life
4. literary autoethnography
focuses as much on examining self autobiographically as on interpreting a culture for a nonnative audience
Self-Narrative (Ellis & Bochner, 2000)
"Autoethnography shares the storytelling with self-narrative but transcends mere narration of self to engage in cultural analysis and interpretation."
(Chang, 2008, p.43)
the research process (graphy), culture (ethno), self (auto)
fall at different places along the continuum
(Ellis & Bochner, 2000)
How is it similar and different from other ethnographies?
1. Both follow a similar ethnographic research process systematically
collecting data (field texts), analyzing and interpreting
2. Attempts to achieve cultural understanding through analysis and
interpretation (not about focusing on self alone, but searching for
understanding of culture/society/others through self)
3. Personal experiences are the primary data framed in the context of the
bigger story of the society (making autoethnography ethnographic)
autobiographical ethnography, autobiology, auto-observation, autopathorgraphy, collaborative autobiography, complete-member research, confessional tales, critical autobiography, emotionalism narratives of the self, ethnobiography, ethnographic autobiography, ethnographic memoir, ethnographic poetics, ethnographic short stories, evocative narratives, experiential texts, first-person accounts, impressionistic accounts, indigenous ethnography, interpretive biography, literary tales, lived experience, narrative ethnography, native ethnography, experimental ethnography, opportunistic research, personal essays, personal ethnography, personal experience narrative, personal narratives, personal writing, postmodern ethnography, radical empiricism, reflexive ethnography, self-ethnography, self-stories, socioautobiography, sociopoetics, writing-stories
Autoethnography (Ellis, 2004)
- "Research, writing, story, and method that connect the
autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political. Autoethnographic forms feature concrete action, emotion, embodiment, self-consciousness, and introspection portrayed in dialogue, scenes, characterization, and plot."
- writing about the personal and its relationship to culture
- autoethnographers gaze (back and forth)
* 1st ethnographic wide angle lens (social and cultural aspects)
* 2nd look inward (vulnerable self... cultural interpretations)
- written in first person voice
- forms include short stories, poetry, fiction, novels, journals,
photographic essays, novels...
differ in how much emphasis is placed on the study of others, the researcher's self and interaction with others, traditional analysis, interview context, and power relationships
- indigenous/native ethnographies:
construct their own personal and cultural stories
- narrative ethnographies:
stories incorporating the ethnographer's experiences into the descriptions and
analysis of others
- reflexive, dyadic interviews:
focus on the interactively produced meanings and emotional dynamics of
the interview itself; participant story is the focus, researcher personal reflection adds context & layers
- reflexive ethnographies:
document ways a researcher changes as a result of doing field work
ethnographic memoirs (Ellis, 2004) & "confessional tales" (Van Maanen, 1988)
- layered accounts:
focus on the author's experience alongside data, abstract analysis, and relevant
literature... similar to grounded theory (Charmaz, 1983) data collection and analysis proceed
simultaneously & frame research as source of questions/comparisons rather than truth, but unlike GT
layered accounts use vignettes, reflexivity, multiple voices, and introspection to invoke readers to enter the
emergent experience of doing/writing research and to conceive identity as an emergent process
- interactive interviews:
provide in-depth and intimate understand of people's experiences with emotionally
charged and sensitive topics; collaborative between researcher and participants (one & the same)
each person writes their experience and then shares and reacts to the story the
other wrote at the same time (epiphany)
- personal narratives:
stories about authors who view themselves as the phenomenon and write evocative
narratives focused on their academic, research, and personal lives
Analytic Autoethnography (Anderson, 2006)
objectivity vs. subjectivity
- promotes the "scientific", systematic approach to data collection, analysis,
and interpretation that can be validated by more than researchers themselves
- allows researchers to insert their personal and subjective interpretation into
the research process
analytical/theoretical/realist/objective approach to autoethnography
5 key features:
1) complete member in the social world under study
2) engages reflexivity to analyze data on self
3) is visibly and actively present in data collection
4) includes other informants in similar situations in data collection
5) commitment to theoretical analysis
- Carolyn Ellis
She uses the term autoethnography and describes her professional life, illness and eventual death of her partner and her grief over the loss.
- Robert J. Nash
Spirituality, Ethics, Religion, and Teaching
A personal narrative with personal reflection on his journey with graduate study to becoming a professor.
- Jane Tompkins
A Life in School
An academic memoir covering her childhood, experience as a student and later as a professor.
- Mother-daughter relationship (Ellis, 1996)
- Father's death (Wyatt, 2005)
- Childhood with a "mentally retarded" mother (Ronai, 1996)
- Teenage pregnancy (Muncey, 2005)
- Black identity (Austin, 1996)
- Gender identity (Lucal, 1999)
- Student Teaching (Attard & Armour, 2005)
Where to position self and others in autoethnography?
1) position self as the main character and others as supporting actors
2) include others as co-participants
3) study others as the primary focus, yet also as an entry to your world
(Clandinin, Pushor, & Orr, 2007)
note-taking, memory work, narrative writing, observation, interviews
(memory) (Chang, 2008)
- chronicling the past
- inventorying self
- visualizing self
Self-observational & self-reflective data
What to observe? How to observe it? (research purpose)
systematic self-observation: solitary data collection
interactive self-observation: collaborative
interviews, textural artifacts (diploma), photographs/video images, literature
- data refinement (narrowing & organizing)
- analyzing and interpreting data strategies: (Chang, 2008)
1) search for recurring topics, themes, patterns 2) look for cultural themes 3) identify exceptional occurrences 4) analyze inclusion and omission 5) connect the present with the past 6) analyze relationships between self and others 7) compare yourself with other people's cases 8) contextualize broadly 9) compare with social science constructs and ideas 10) frame with theories
Class Activity: Creating a Cohort 26 Autoethnography Museum
Choose 1 (Chang, 2008)
1) List 3 proverbs, in order of importance that you have heard repeatedly in your family/community or society that have had an impact on your life. Select the most important to you and explain how it influenced your thought, belief, and behavior. (p. 77)
2) List 3 personal, familial, or social rituals, in order of importance, in which you have participated. Select the most most important one and describe it in detail in terms of who, when, where, what, and how. Explain why it is important in your life. (p. 78)
3) List 3 mentors, in order of importance, who have made significant impacts on your life. Select one and explain how this person has influenced you. (p. 80)
4) List 3 values, in order of importance, that you consider important in your life. Select the most important one, give a brief definition, and explain why it is important. (p. 97)
5) Cut out/glue 3 pictures from the magazines to describe where you are at in the Ph.D program. Explain each one.
- ethnography is a journey
- emphasis on emotion
- an alternative to traditional, realist ethnography
- autoethnography can be judged in terms of whether the story helps readers communicate with others different from themselves or offer a way to improve the lives of participants and readers or the author
- stories are more engaging and persuasive
- author central in the story (audience)
Alison & Beth
Analyzing Analytic Autoethnography
(Ellis & Bochner, 2006)
- ethnography is a destination
- lack of feeling
- rooted in traditional symbolic interactionism
- findings generalizable (refining, elaborating, and
extending theoretical understanding)
- theory superior to a story
- author present in the story (audience)
Gina & Adriana
- epoche (bracket) my own experiences set them aside/unpack
- situate my story within the literature (immerse)
- combination of both evocative and analytical autoethnography
- "narrative, autoethnographic, theoretical account" (Ellis, 1998)
- field work
(internal: introspective activities chronicling the past)
(external: examine artifacts and photographs)
- search documents/memories for topics/themes, identify salient occurrences, compare myself with cases in the literature.
Anderson, L. (2006). Analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35(4), 373-394.
Braun,V. & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Chang, H. (2008). Autoethnography as method. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Chang, H. (2013). Individual and collaborative autoethnography as method: A social scientist’sperspective. In S.H. Jones, T.E. Adams & C. Ellis (Eds.), Handbook of autoethnography (p. 107-142). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Creswell, J.W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.
Dey, I. (1999). Grounding grounded theory: Guidelines for qualitative inquiry. Sand Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Ellis, C. (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Ellis, C. & Bochner, A.P. (2000). Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity. In N.K.
Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (p. 733-768). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Hayano, D. (1979). Auto-ethnography: Paradigms, problems, and prospects. Human Organization, 38, 99-104.
Marshall, C., & Rossman, G.B. (2011). Designing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Reed-Danahay, D. (1997). Auto/Ethnography: Rewriting the self and the social. New York, Berg.
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