On Autoethnography

  • Jackie GoodeEmail author


In this chapter autoethnography is conceived of as a research practice located within the ethnographic tradition. ‘Analytic’ and ‘evocative’ variations are seen as being on a continuum, the crucial component with both being the links that are made, explicitly or implicitly, between the personal and wider social and cultural issues, particularly those pertaining to a social justice agenda. Using ethnographic fieldwork as a ‘model’, the chapter identifies and discusses three components of autoethnographic inquiry: the status of the ‘data’ that autoethnography ‘collects’ in the ‘field’—that is the ‘personal experience’ collected from the ‘self’; the ‘method’ of data collection upon which the researcher-self/self-researcher is reliant—that is, the operation of memory; and the production of a ‘report’ about what was ‘found’ (uncovered or revealed) in the field—where the report (autoethnographic text, performance etc.) eventuates from what is conceived of here as a process of ‘cultural production’ or ‘making practice’ referred to as ‘poiesis’.


Autoethnography Self Personal experience Memory Poiesis 


  1. Ahmed, S. (2003). The politics of fear in the making of worlds, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 16, 3, 377–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed, S. (2008). Open Forum Imaginary Prohibitions. Some Preliminary Remarks on the Founding Gestures of the ‘New Materialism’. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 15, 1, 23–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmed, S. (2016). Feminism and Fragility.
  4. Albert, S. (1977). Temporal comparison theory. Psychological Review 84, 6, 485–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Amrit, V. (2010). Serendipities, Uncertainties and Improvisations in Movement and Migration. In P. Collins, and A. Gallinat (Eds.), The ethnographic self as resource: writing memory and experience into ethnography (pp. 200–214). Oxford: Berghan Books.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, L. (2013). Analytic Autoethnography. In P. Sikes (Ed.), Autoethnography Volume II. (pp. 69–89). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Bell, C. & H. Newby. (1977). (Eds.), Doing Sociological Research (pp. 108–129). London: George Allen Unwin.Google Scholar
  8. Benjamin, A. (1992). The Unconscious: Structuring as a Translation. In J. Fletcher and M. Stanton (Eds.), Jean Laplanche: Seduction, Translation, Drives (pp. 137–57) London: Institute of Contemporary Arts.Google Scholar
  9. Bennett T. (2007). The work of culture. Cultural Sociology 1, 31–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Berlant, L. (2011). Cruel optimism. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bernard, J. (1972). The Future of Marriage. New York: World Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Bretell, C. B. (1997) Blurred Genres and Blended Choices: Life History, Biography, Autobiography and the Auto/Ethnography of Women’s Lives. In D. E. Reed-Danahay (Ed.), Auto/Ethnography, Rewriting the Self and the Social (pp. 223–246). Oxford and New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  13. Brown, N. & Milat, P. (Eds.), (2017). Poiesis. Montréal: Concordia University, Multimedijalni Institute/Centre for Expanded Poetics.Google Scholar
  14. Britzman, D. (2000). The question of belief: Writing poststructural ethnography. In E. St Pierre & W. Pillow (Eds.), Working the ruins: Feminist poststructural theory and methods in education (pp. 27–40). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Bruner, J. (1994). The “remembered” self. In U. Neisser and R. Fivush (Eds.), The remembering self. Construction and accuracy in the self-narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Bunda, T., Heckenberg, R., Snepvangers, K., Phillips, L. G., Lasczik, A. & Black, A. L. (2019). Storymaking Belonging. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 4, 1, 153–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Campbell, J. & Harbord, J. (Eds.), (2002) Temporalities, autobiography and everyday life. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Cavarero, A. (2000.[1997]). Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood (P.A. Kottman, trans.) London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Charlesworth, S. (2000). A Phenomenology of Working-Class Experience Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Cixous, H. (1994). Preface. In S. Sellers (Ed.) The Hélène Cixous reader (pp. xv-xxiii). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Clarke, S. (2006). Theory and Practice: Psychoanalytic Sociology as Psycho-Social Studies, Sociology 40, 6, 1153–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Coffey, A. (1999). The Ethnographic Self, Fieldwork and the Representation of Identity. Sociological Research Online.Google Scholar
  23. Collins, P & Gallinat, A. (2010). The ethnographic self as resource: writing memory and experience into ethnography. Oxford: Berghan Books.Google Scholar
  24. Collins, P.H. (1999). Reflections on the Outsider Within Journal of Career Development, Vol. 26(1): 85–88.Google Scholar
  25. Cosslett, T., Lury, C. & Summerfield, P. (Eds.), (2000). Feminism and Autobiography, Texts, theories, methods. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Davies, B., & Gannon, S. (2006). Doing collective biography. Berkshire: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  27. Dawson, G. (1994). Soldier Heroes, British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Dawson, A., Hockey, J. & James, A. (1997). After Writing Culture: Epistemology and Praxis in Contemporary Anthropology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Denzin, N. K. (2003). Performance ethnography: Critical pedagogy and the politics of culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Dwyer, C., Beinart, K. & Ahmed, N. (2019). My Life is but a weaving: embroidering geographies of faith and place. Cultural Geographies 26, 1, 133–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. la Fuente, E. de. (2019). After the cultural turn: For a textural sociology. The Sociological Review 67, 3, 552–567. Scholar
  32. Galloway, J. (2009). The SRB Interview. Scottish Review of Books, Vol. 5, Issue 2.Google Scholar
  33. Gannon, S. (2006). The (Im)Possibilities of Writing the Self – Writing: French Post-structural Theory and Autoethnography. Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies, 6, 4, 474–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Geerz, C. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  35. Gherardi, S. & Perrotti, M. (2014). Between the hand and the head. How things get done, and how in doing the ways of doing are discovered. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 9, 2, 134–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Goode, J., Callender, C. & Lister, R. (1998). Purse or Wallet? Gender Inequalities and the Distribution of Income in Families on Benefits. London: JRF/Policy Studies Institute.Google Scholar
  37. Goode, J. & Bagilhole, B. (1998). The social construction of gendered equal opportunities in UK universities: a case study of women technicians. Critical Social Policy, 18, 2, 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Goode, J. (2006). Research Identities: Reflections of a Contract Researcher. Sociological Research Online, 11, 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Goode, J. (2018). Exhuming the good that men do: The play of the mnemonic imagination in the making of an autoethnographic text. Time & Society Scholar
  40. Hall, J.R., Grindstaff, L. & Lo, M-C. (Eds.), (2010). Handbook of Cultural Sociology. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Harrison, M. J. (2019, 5 April). Instructions for a Funeral by David Means review – love, loss and fistfights. The Guardian online
  42. Hey, V. & Leathwood, C. (2009). Passionate Attachments: Higher Education, Policy, Knowledge, Emotion and Social Justice. Higher Education Policy, 22, 1, 101–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Hochschild, A. R. (1979). Emotion Work, Feeling Rules, and Social Structure, American Journal of Sociology, 85, 3, 551–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Holman Jones, S. & Harris, A. E. (2019). Queering Autoethnography. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Inglis, D., Blaikie, A. & Wagner-Pacifici, R. (2007). Sociology, culture and the 21st century. Cultural Sociology 1, 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Jedlowski, P. (2001). Memory and sociology: Themes and issues. Time & Society 10, 1, 29–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Keighley, E. & Pickering, M. (2012). The Mnemonic Imagination: Remembering as Creative Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. King, N. (2000). Memory, Narrative, Identity. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  49. King, N. (2008). Plotting the lives of others: narrative structure in some recent British autobiography. Qualitative Research, 8, 3, 339–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Loveday, V. (2016). Embodying Deficiency Through ‘Affective Practice’: Shame, relationality, and the lived experience of social class and gender in higher education. Sociology, 50, 6, 1140–1155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Maguire, M. H. (2006). Autoethnography: Answerability/Responsibility in Authoring Self and Others in the Social Sciences/Humanities. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7, 2, Art. 16.Google Scholar
  52. May, V. (2017). Belonging from afar: nostalgia, time and memory. The Sociological Review, 65, 2, 401–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McNay, L. (2004). Agency and experience: Gender as a lived relation. In L. Adkins & B. Skeggs (Eds.), Feminism After Bourdieu. (pp. 175–190). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  54. Miettinen, R., Samra-Fredericks, D. & Yanow, D. (2009). Re-turn to practice: an introductory essay. Organization Studies, 30, 12, 1309–1327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mukerji, C. (2007). Cultural genealogy. Cultural Sociology, 1, 49–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Oakley, A. (2016). Interviewing Women Again: Power, Time and the Gift. Sociology, 50, 1, 195–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Phipps, A. (2010). Ethnographers as Language Learners: from Oblivion towards an Echo. In P. Collins, & A. Gallinat (Eds.), The ethnographic self as resource: writing memory and experience into ethnography. (pp. 97–110). Oxford: Berghan Books.Google Scholar
  58. Phipps, A. (2016). Whose personal is more political? Experience in contemporary feminist politics. Feminist Theory, 17, 3, 303–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Price, M. (2015). Narrative capital and youth practitioner professional identities. Unpublished Ed.D thesis, University of Brighton.Google Scholar
  60. Probyn, E. (1993). Sexing the self: Gendered positions in cultural studies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Probyn, E. (2003). The spatial imperative of subjectivity. In K. Anderson, M. Domosh, S. Pile & N. Thrift (Eds.), Handbook of cultural geography (pp. 290–299). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pullman, P. (2017) Dæmon Voices. Oxford: David Fickling Books.Google Scholar
  63. Radstone, S. (2000). Memory and Methodology. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  64. Richardson, L. (1994). Writing: A method of inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 516–529). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  65. Richardson, L. (1997). Fields of Play. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Rojek, C. & Turner, B. (2000). Decorative sociology: A critique of the cultural turn. Sociological Review, 48: 629–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Roseneil, S. & Ketokivi, K. (2016). Relational Persons and Relational Processes: Developing the notion of relationality for the sociology of personal life. Sociology, 50, 1, 143–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rosenzweig, R. & Tahlen, D. (1998). The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life. New York and Chichester: Colombia University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Ruiz-Junco, N. & Vidal-Ortiz, S. (2011). Autoethnography, the sociological through the personal. In I. Zaki and M. DeCesare (Eds.) New Directions in Sociology. (pp. 193–211). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc.Google Scholar
  70. Santos, B. de S. (1995). Towards a New Common Sense: Law, Science and Politics in the Paradigmatic Transition. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Sayer, D. (2004). Incognito ergo sum: Language, memory and the subject. Theory, Culture & Society, 21, 6, 67–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Scambler, G. (2015). The compression of the past
  73. Schatzki, T. R. (2001). Introduction. Practice theory. In T. R. Schatzki, F. Knorr-Cetina & E. von Savigny (Eds.) The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. (pp. 1–14). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  74. Scott, J. (1991). The evidence of experience. Critical Inquiry, 17, 4, 773–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Scott, S. & Morgan, D. (1993). (Eds.), Body Matters. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  76. Skeggs, B. (2011). Imagining personhood differently: Person value and autonomist working-class value practices. The Sociological Review, 59, 3, 496–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Skeggs, B. (2014). Values Beyond Value? Is Anything Beyond the Logic of Capital? British Journal of Sociology, 65, 1, 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Spohrer, K., Stahl, G. & Bowers-Brown, T. (2018). Constituting neoliberal subjects? ‘Aspiration’ as technology of government in UK policy discourse, Journal of Education Policy, 33, 3, 327–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Stanley, L. (1993). The knowing because experiencing subject: Narratives, lives, and autobiography. Women’s Studies International Forum Volume 16, Issue 3:205–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Stanley, L., Salter, A., & Dampier, H. (2013). The Work of Making and the Work it Does: Cultural Sociology and ‘Bringing-Into-Being’ the Cultural Assemblage of the Olive Schreiner Letters. Cultural Sociology, 7, 3, 287–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Steedman, C. (1982). The tidy house: little girls writing. London: Virago Press.Google Scholar
  82. Steedman C. (1986). Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Women. London: Virago Press.Google Scholar
  83. Steedman, C. (1992). Past Tense. Essays on Writing, Autobiography and History. London: Rivers Oram Press.Google Scholar
  84. Steedman, C. (2000). Enforced narratives: stories of another self. In T. Cosslett, C. Lury & P. Summerfield (Eds.), Feminism and Autobiography. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  85. Steedman, C. (2001). Dust. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  86. St. Pierre, E. A. (1997). Methodology in the Fold and the Irruption of Transgressive Data. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 10, 2, 175–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. St. Pierre, E. (2000). Poststructural feminism in education: An overview. Qualitative Studies in Education, 13, 5, 477–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Thrift, N. (2008). Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect. (p. 2) New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Van den Broucke, J. (2019). Autoethnography: subjectivity and experimental strategy in the social sciences.
  90. Vannini, P. (2015). Non-representational ethnography: new ways of animating lifeworlds. Cultural Geographies, 22, 2, 317–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Walkerdine, V. (1985). Dreams from an Ordinary Childhood. In L. Heron (Ed.) Truth, Dare or Promise, Girls Growing up in the Fifties (pp. 63–77). London: Virago Press.Google Scholar
  92. Walkerdine, V. (1988). Video Replay: families, films, and fantasy. In D. Burgin, J. Donald & Kaplan, C. (Eds.), Formations of Fantasy. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  93. Walkerdine, V. (2010). Communal beingness and affect: An exploration of trauma in an ex-industrial community. Body & Society, 16, 1, 91–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Zita, J. (1998). Body talk: Philosophical reflections on sex and gender. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

Personalised recommendations