Once again it all leads back to Harry Potter…

Digital Asia

Autoethnography is one of my favourite kinds of words. It’s a portmanteau. Think Brangelina or sexting. A portmanteau is a new word made by combining two existing words. In the case of autoethnography, it’s made up of the words autobiography and ethnography, and in order to understand what these two words mean together, we must first understand them separately.

Autobiography usually involves the author’s reflection on personal past experiences. It is written retroactively and selectively (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2010). Autobiographies are usually written in a narrative style, and attempt to convey ‘lessons’ the authors has learnt through past experiences. Autobiographies are extremely subjective. They are less about telling exactly what happened, and more about expressing how experiences made the author feel.

Ethnography on the other hand, is the study of “a culture’s relational practices, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences” (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2010). Instead of telling…

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