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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter details the authors’ approach to understanding and practicing autoethnography. It begins by defining autoethnography and describing its history and emergence within qualitative social research and within psychology. It then proposes general guiding principles for those seeking to do autoethnography, principles such as using personal experience, acknowledging existing research, understanding and critiquing cultural experience, using insider knowledge, breaking silence, and maneuvering through pain, confusion, anger, and uncertainty. It continues with a discussion of autoethnography as a process and as a product, and a method that can take a variety of representational forms. After offering ways to evaluate and critique autoethnography, it concludes with a discussion of autoethnography as an orientation to the living of life and an approach that has the potential of making life better—for the writer, reader, participant, and larger culture.

Keywords: Autoethnography, qualitative research, personal narrative, storytelling, ethical research, insider knowledge, identity politics, interactive interviewing, reflexivity, collaborative witnessing

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