Autoethnography: Is My Own Story Narrative Research?

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Emerald, Elke
Carpenter, Lorelei
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Rachael Dwyer, Ian Davis, elke emerald

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2017
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Abstract

Narrative researchers have long understood the power of a story to capture a reader’s attention, link them emotionally to a topic and then use that attention and connection to communicate a theoretical or practical point. And further, the story can itself communicate the social/cultural/political. Autoethnography asserts that when we publically story our experiences, they transcend the private and the personal and assume political import. It is a particular research method that connects the personal to the political, social and cultural in captivating, stirring and most importantly, insightful ways that move us to action. Autoethnography is a comfortable companion for many forms of narrative research.

This chapter briefly outlines some of the tenets of autoethnography: exploring how an autoethnographic writer can achieve that connection between the story and the wider cultural point that shifts a story from just interesting, to research. We use some examples of autoethnographies to explore the extent to which authors can or should make the social/political/cultural points explicit for the reader, and present Lorelei’s autoethnography of her ‘near-miss’ to elaborate and exemplify one way of facing the methodological and theoretical challenges of autoethnography.

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Narrative Research in Practice: Stories from the Field

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Education not elsewhere classified

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