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Autoethnography: Round 2, Baby ~

Hey, again, guys, ~~

I wasn’t sure if I had to write a blog post for this week considering it was my presentation week; however, there were two readings on Autoethnography. So, here we go ~~

In light of Val’s assigned autoethnography reading, “An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography” by Sarah Walls, I happened to notice a phrase, or specific words in particular, that struck me differently from my first read over. I read this reading again after reading the many insightful, in-depth class blog posts.

Specifically, I’d like to draw attention toward Rachel & Ricki’s blog posts as they did so well explaining, in their own words, the criticism or opposing force against autoethnography as a valid research method of inquiry. So, there I was, reading Wall’s viewpoint again, and found myself, once again nodding in agreement to everything she had said and stopped when I happened to skim over this phrase, in which I cut from its full-length quote, “[. . .] researcher’s rhetoric, prejudice, and experience in interpretation of observations [. . .]” (Wall, 147). I’ve read over those words before regarding autoethnography and was confused to why I had stopped reading further for a moment.

The irony is that this phrase I pulled and cut came from a quote in support of autoethnography as a valid method of research inquiry and academic writing (in which, I do still agree with BTW). However, after reading how Ricki and Rachel felt toward autoethnography, I perceived it differently than before. Or better said, I came to really understand the so-called dangers of just using autoethnography as a research method of inquiry by its lonesome. Ricki said it best – I quote, “I am still not the biggest fan because I just don’t trust other’s judgement,” and he continues by then saying, “[. . .] I cannot imagine an autoethnography being the sole method. It would have to be paired with something else.” I completely understand the mistrust in others and found the mixed-methods type of approach toward autoethnography a brilliant way to liven the data that comes from biographical narratives.

I had first sided only with the rise of postmodernism and the freedom autoethnography brings into the research community, particularly academic writing. We are studying a Humanities discipline, after all (Writing Studies), I thought to myself. I then thought, wouldn’t it be wrong of me to agree with all the insightful criticism of a newly developed research that’s essentially in favor of a more humanistic approach to academic writing?

But the truth is, is that we are all human, and with that comes many flaws and thick layers of deception (Rachel used this word in her blog post, and it struck me). The mind is so complex that we even deceive ourselves – more so than not, until the delusions must be dimmed and managed by medication. In NO WAY or manner am I implying that to be mentally ill equates to unreliability. Everyone has a story, in which some parts can be trusted and some not. If I were claiming so, then everything I say or write could be considered a misguided delusional thought. But I’d be lying if not to admit how jaded memories can really be, and to the very danger in solely believing what it is your mind tells you.

So, my eyes have now been mindfully opened to appreciate each critical remark opposing the validity of autoethnographic research because I see them now as kind warnings, that would speak: Yes, we are indeed products of our uniquely lived experiences that hold concrete value and meaning in this world, some powerful enough to exact change. Although please be aware of the mind and all the deceiving creases it entails.

With all being said, I’m very impressed by this week blog postings. I feel like I needed to rehear (or reread) the opposing remarks from a fellow classmate – rather than a researcher, philosopher, or autoethnographer – to be reminded about the dangers of fully and whole-heartedly trusting the subjectivity of memories.

Thank you, guys !! ❤ lol

Xoxo,

Francesca Di Fabio 