THE ROAD NOW TAKEN: REFINING MY AUTO-ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY

Over the past week, I have been reflecting upon my topic and how I am going to present this in a digital artefact. After much consideration, I have decided to compare my experiences of crime movies that have been produced by East Asian countries or cities. Given my interest in South Korea, I will focus on this as a site of production, as well as China, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau as an attractive locale for filming. I have observed over the course of my study into this genre (which I have not blogged about as yet) that while there are similarities in regard to cinematic quality, there is a prominent but underlying tension between these sites of production which often go unnoticed. These movies commentate on their country’s difficult geo-political-cultural relationship with China and their struggles to carve out their own individual identities.

 

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So the next obvious question will be how I am going to present my findings from the autoethnographic study? One of my strengths is writing. Now I know what you are going to say; ‘perfect write an essay’. Since I have been given the opportunity to produce a more creative-based project, I have decided on a happy medium between writing and a digital platform – Storify.  Two separate Storify pieces will provide a detailed examination of two broad results from the autoethnographic study; one the complicated definitional boundaries of the ‘crime’ genre and two; the tensions between East Asian countries/cities/states. Storify is a flexible medium because it allows the user to integrate videos, images, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts within a body of text. Hence, it will provide an effective balance of exploring academic concepts through more informal language and engaging media.

 

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Hong Kong Skyline 2009

 

 

But what is auto-ethnography and how does it tie in with my research? Autoethnography is a research method where “the author is both informant and investigator… the autoethnography is not simple personal narrative” (Cunningham, J.S. 2005, p-2), but rather connecting personal experiences with wider cultural implications. This method has allowed me to connect my own experiences of watching these movies with academic literature in order to better understand East Asian cinema. For example; as raised previously I have discovered that many of these films have an underlying resentment toward China. I would not have been able to discover this if not for autoethnography, if not for directly experiencing it. I was then able to connect this ‘experience’ with an industry report which seems to mirror this observation; “government shake-ups and new policies – such as the Chief Executive elections and the recent National Education curriculum, which is designed to encourage understanding and patriotism for China – are fiercely opposed when perceived as moves by the Chinese Communist Party to assert their influence on Hong Kong” (Ma, K 2012, p3).

So now I continue on my quest to better understanding Asian crime cinema through the use of autoethnography.

 

 

 

Cunningham, J.S. & Jones, M 2005, ‘Autoethnography: A tool for practice and education’, CHINZ ’05 Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI New Zealand chapter’s international conference on Computer-human interaction: making CHI natural conference proceeding, New York, July, viewed 10 September 2014, http://goo.gl/AOhB75

Ma, K 2012, ‘The Asian screen: the state of China and Hong Kong’s film industry and the emergence of Transmedia’, Hexagon Concepts, October, viewed 10 September 2014, http://www.scribd.com/doc/109335662/The-Asian-Screen-1-Hong-Kong-China

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5 comments

  1. This is a really well considered project. I’m really excited to see it! It is interesting that you have noticed the tension between China and other production countries through their cinema. I’m not overly familiar with it, but it believe South Korea also doesn’t get along well with Japan. I read a blog about how this tension is escalating, with most citizens more fearful of Japan than China (http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/07/11/mutual-dislike-soars-between-japan-south-korea/).
    I also feel that my strength is writing but I never considered Storify as an option. I was thinking more along the lines of an online magazine, in terms of tying lots of different content together. Storify seems to be a more modern option however, like a magazine in a feed. It will make for a really cool artefact!

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  2. Hey Catilin,
    It certainly looks like you’ve come to a more solid idea of what your digital artefact and research will be. Looking at more than just South Korean film sounds like a great idea; particularly with how people in the ‘West’ often just lump all Asian countries together. They are separate and distinct countries which have different approaches to themes and ideas in film.
    I find your research concept rather interesting, so I did a quick search and found a journal site which has a volume called “Three Asias – Japan, S. Korea, China”. It has a number of articles about film and culture. I know you’re not looking at Japan but the other two may be helpful to get some ideas for further research. I’m not sure if you can access all the articles directly on the site, but the introduction parts for each Asian country are available. (found here: http://paradoxa.com/volumes/22)
    I hope it’s helpful, and good luck with using Storify, I checked that out when I was starting my digital artefact, but I didn’t think it would work well enough with my topic. Sounds like it’ll work well with yours though!
    – Gabi

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  3. Thanks for your positive feedback. I didn’t think about it in terms being a magazine so thanks Courtney for that, I will think about that as I begin to create my digital artefact. Thanks also Gabi for the link to the site I will definitely be looking at those articles as a way of supporting my own arguments and theories.

    Thanks again!

    – Caitlin

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  4. Storify is a really great platform to do your artefact on, I’m using it also! I think this because of the freedom it allows for you to explore this idea across a broad range of content. For instance, you could link WordPress blogs you have written about your topic, along with embedded tweets. I feel this broad use of platforms allows for a more thorough reflection on the Asian crime genre, in turn allowing for your analysis (the very essence of an autoethnography) to be more detailed.

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  5. How have I never heard of storify? I had to go and look it up and see what it was all about, it looks like a great platform to use for your digital artefact being able to compile a variety of platforms together (at least thats what I think it is).
    Interested to see how the final digital artefact ends up and how you’ve utilised storify to explore Asian crime cinema.

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