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Autoethnography - further details

Title: Autoethnography

Date and time: 17th November, 2-6pm

Leader: Dr Hilary Cremin

Location: Donald McIntyre Building, Faculty of Education


Please email Emma Rixon on if you wish to attend.


This session will present autoethnography as a new methodology that has much potential for social scientists. Autoethnography draws on recent work in autobiography. It seeks to unsettle notions of a stable unified self in favour of more complex, diverse, fragmented and inter-connected versions of self and being. This methodology tries to equalise power relations between the researcher, the participants and the readers of research. It grounds itself in the emotions and experiences of the researcher, and challenges readers to similarly reflect critically upon their own life experience, constructions of self, and interactions with others within sociohistorical contexts. Thus autoethnography intimately relates the research process to both the social world and the self, drawing on personal stories and narratives to point to the intertextuality between ethnography and autobiography.


Autoethnography engages in new ways with praxis. It is more sensitive to the outcomes, intended and unintended, of research. By shifting the focus from the past to the future, we can ask new questions. We move from, 'Does my story reflect my past accurately?' to, 'What are the consequences my story produces?' Rather than agonising about questions of validity and reliability, the merits of research narratives are judged in the same ways that we judge authors or characters. 'Is the work honest or dishonest?' 'Do we gain a sense of emotional reliability?' 'Is there a transformation from an old self to a new one?' 'Does the story help in understanding the experience it seeks to convey?'


This session will present an overview of autoethnography. It will also contain an autoethnographic performance, and provide space for participants to relate these methods to their own projects.


Required Reading:


Ellis, C. & Bochner, P. Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity.

In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (2000) Handbook of Qualitative Research (second

edition) London: Sage, 733-768


Prendergast, M. (2013) Running around with inmates, maps and swords: a reflective poetic-narrative autoethnography of a prison theatre production, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 18:3, 313-323


Additional Reading:


Hesse-Biber, S. & Leavy, P. (2006) Performing Autoethnography: An Embodied Methodological Praxis. In S. Hesse-Biber & P. Leavy (Eds) Emergent Methods in Social Research, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 183-213


Rogers Stanton, C. (2014) Crossing Methodological Borders: Decolonizing Community-Based Participatory Research, Qualitative Inquiry 20: 573-83


Atkinson, P. Coffey, A & Delamont, S. (2003) Key Themes in Qualitative

Research: Continuities and Changes, Oxford: AltaMira Press


Holman Jones, S. (2008) Autoethnography: Making the personal political. In N.K Denzin & Y.S Lincoln (Eds) Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, London: Sage, 205-247