Interpretive Autoethnography

Authored by: Norman K. Denzin

Handbook of Autoethnography

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781598746006
eBook ISBN: 9781315427812
Adobe ISBN: 9781315427805

10.4324/9781315427812.ch4

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Abstract

C. Wright Mills (1959) is a good place to start:

The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two in society. The challenge is to develop a methodology that allows us to examine how the private troubles of individuals are connected to public issues and to public responses to these troubles. That is its task and its promise. Individuals can understand their own experience and gauge their own fate only by locating themselves within their historical moment period, (pp. 5–6, slight paraphrase) 1

Or Deborah E. Reed-Danahay (1997):

Autoethnography is a form of self-narrative that places the self within a social context. It is both a method and a text. (p. 6)

Or Tami Spry (2001):

Autoethnography is...a self-narrative that critiques the situatedness of self and others in social context, (p. 710; see also Alexander, 2000)

Carolyn Ellis (2009):

As an autoethnographer, I am both the author and focus of the story, the one who tells and the one who experiences, the observer and the observed....I am the person at the intersection of the personal and the cultural, thinking and observing as an ethnographer and writing and describing as a storyteller. (p. 13)

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