Autoethnography

Notes

Autoethnography is "writing about the personal and its relationship to culture. It is an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple layers of consciousness." [1].

Autoethography is significant. "In may wyas, we come to define and know ourselves and the world we inhabit through storytelling." [2]

Autoethnography is popular and growing. Today there are many different approaches and writing forms.[3]

Exposes fact that "realities and knowleges are messy, complex, and multiple..." (different perspectives on same events, different ways of understanding) that "we construct these knowleges from a particualr pint of view within a particular context..." that "...knowledge construction is rooted in local contexts and actions..." and that "we enact change and create knowledge through mindful actions."[4]

Autoethnography, though open to charges of bias, self-indulgence, and narcissism[5], is a powerful and increasingly popular research methodology whereby an author uses autobiographical experience, their own subjectivity, and self-reflection to connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political”

Like all research methodologies, autoethnography has its strengthens and weaknesses. Autoethnography is particularly suited to recovering voices otherwise silenced by colonial activity of the dominant cultural and economic apparatus. Autoethnography can expose marginalized knowledges, marginalized people, oppression, and subjugations [6].

Autoethnography confronts “dominant forms of representation and power in an attempt to reclaim, through self-reflective responses, representational spaces that have marginalized those ... at the border.” [7].

This ability to expose marginalized voices is important when it comes to human spirituality because, as has become increasingly clear to me, authentic human spirituality has been suppressed and marginalized in the same way cultures have been marginalized and even destroyed by dominant and exploitative cultures. This includes the suppression of more egalitarian “female” spiritualities by violent and patriarchal Aryan invaders [8], the suppression of contemporary indigenous spirituality by Western Christian actors [9] [10], and the suppression of Christian teachings that threatened the ancient status quo. ion by an empirical and scientific voice is needed.

Autoethnography is a “radical democratic politics—a politics committed to creating space for dialogue and debate that instigates and shapes social change.” [11]

Autoethnography involves the “turning of the ethnographic gaze inward on the self (auto), while maintaining the outward gaze of ethnography, looking at the larger context wherein self experiences occur.” [12]

Footnotes

  1. Ellis, Carolyn. The Ethnographic I. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. p. 37
  2. Stacy Holman Jones et al., eds., “Reflections on Writing through Memory in Autoethnography,” in Handbook of Autoethnography (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013), 406–24.Stacy Holman Jones et al., eds., “Reflections on Writing through Memory in Autoethnography,” in Handbook of Autoethnography (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013), 406–24.Stacy Holman Jones et al., eds., “Reflections on Writing through Memory in Autoethnography,” in Handbook of Autoethnography (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013), 406–24. p. 407.
  3. Jeanine M. Minge, “Mindful Autoethography, Local Knowledges,” in Handbook of Autoethnography, ed. Stacy Holman Jones, Tony E. Adams, and Carolyn Ellis (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013), 425–42. p. 427.
  4. Jeanine M. Minge, “Mindful Autoethography, Local Knowledges,” in Handbook of Autoethnography, ed. Stacy Holman Jones, Tony E. Adams, and Carolyn Ellis (Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013), 425–42. p. 428.
  5. Holt, Nicholas L. “Representation, Legitimation, and Autoethnography: An Autoethnographic Writing Story.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2, no. 1 (2003): 18–28.
  6. Pensoneau-Conway, Sandra L, Tony E. Adams, and Derek M Bolen. Doing Autoethnography. Boston: Sense Publishers, 2017.
  7. Tierney, William G. “Life History’s History: Subjects Foretold.” Qualitative Inquiry, no. 1 (1998): 49. p. 66
  8. Stone, Merlin. When God Was Woman. New York: Doubleday, 1976.
  9. Govinda, Lama Anakarika. “The Ecstasy of Breaking-Through in the Experience of Meditations.” In The Highest State of Consciousness, edited by John White, 235–49. New York: Doubleday, 2012.
  10. Some, Malidoma Patrice. Of Water and the Spirit. New York: Penguin Arcana, 1994.
  11. Jones, Stacy Holman. “Autoethnograhy: Making the Personal Political.” In The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Reesarch, edited by Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, Third Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005. p. 763.
  12. Boylorn, Robin M., and Mark P. Orbe, eds. Critical Autoethnography: Intersecting Cultural Identities in Everyday Life. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2014.p. 17.