Author: The Leisure Post

This site showcases my work as a communications and media professional. All views are my own.

A Reflection On Autoethnographic E-waste Musings

The Leisure Post

A couple of weeks ago I shared an autoethnographic post that detailed my initial thoughts and assumptions on the matter of e-waste. Since then I have given considerable thought to the topic and conducted some introductory research to help me better understand issues relating to e-waste. This follow-up post serves as a sort of reflection about my initial encounter. As was the case with the previous post, here I will employ autoethnographic methodology in order place myself squarely within the area of study.

I opened my previous account by noting that over the years I have routinely seen numerous electronic devices replaced by superior technology. My observation included a supposition that rapid advancements in technology is resulting in digital electronic devices becoming obsolete at an accelerated rate. After conducting some research, I have concluded that this assumption appears reasonable. The rates in which technology is being superseded can be explained…

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Project Proposal: Where Does Technology go to die?

The Leisure Post

I have been fortunate to grow up in a particularly interesting time in history. The world is currently going through a period of rapid change the likes of which have never been seen before. The uptake of mobile phones and digital communications technologies, in general, are facilitating this change and shaping our lives in previously unimaginable ways.
In my lifetime I have witnessed technology become so powerful that I am now permanently networked with all corners of the world and through an internet connected device that is stored in my hip-pocket. This is not, however, the reality I was born into. When I was a child, the internet, and digital communications technologies in general, were yet to become the…

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Gojira’s Nuclear Anxieties

The Leisure Post

Earlier this month I wrote an autoethnographic account of my experience watching the original 1954 Japanese film ‘Gojira’. My account included several themes that I peeked my curiosity during the initial viewing, and since watching the film I have spent some time researching Gojira in an attempt to better understand my observations.

My initial observation was the antiquated cinematographic techniques on display. This observation was hardly surprising given the film was released in 1954, at a time when colour movies had been invented, but were not yet mainstream.

My second and perhaps more interesting observation was the apparent nuclear paranoia on display in the film. I detailed this observation in my previous post by stating the following: “I found the repeated references to nuclear energy surprising given the film was produced less than a decade after the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during world war two, in 1945. Gojira’s…

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Autoethnographic Godzilla Experience

Autoethnography: A term that I have not encountered before today. As I sit in front of the computer and try to decode this intimidating and foreign new word, whilst simultaneously resisting the urge to Google it, I notice the familiar term ‘ethnography’ jumps out at me. Ethnography: the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures. It’s starting to make a bit of sense, but what does the prefix ‘auto’ mean? Auto: self. Does Autoethnography mean the scientific description of myself and my culture? I’m not convinced, better look it up.

Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. This approach challenges canonical ways of doing research and representing others and treats research as a political, socially-just and socially-conscious act. A researcher uses tenets of autobiography and ethnography to do and write autoethnography. Thus, as a method, autoethnography is both process and product (Ellis, et. al., 2011).

I was wrong… sort of. After completing some introductory reading on Autoethnography I have formed a basic understanding of the concept. Autoethnography is a (relatively new) research method in which the practitioner analyses and describes a personal experience in order to form an understanding of cultural experience. The word and the research method are essentially an integration of the terms autobiography and ethnography.

My first experience practicing autoethnography came as I watched the 1954 Japanese film Gojira (Godzilla). I am unfamiliar with Japanese film so this experience was totally new to me. The first thing I noticed was the antiquated cinematographic techniques. The music, special effects, acting methods, and plot all seemed amateur compared to the standards that I have become accustomed to as a twenty-first-century media consumer.

 

godzilla drawing.png

‘Godzilla’ on MS paint, 2016 Jurkiewicz

 

My second key observation was the apparent Japanese nuclear paranoia exhibited throughout the film. I found the repeated references to nuclear energy surprising given the film was produced less than a decade after the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during world war two, in 1945. Godzilla’s thematic preoccupation with nuclear energy shows that the filmmakers still harbored anxieties and curiosities about nuclear energy, and the popularity of the film amongst a Japanese audience tells me that the county’s media consumers could relate to the concept. I initially found it surprising that a Japanese film would toy with the idea of nuclear energy so soon after the nuclear tragedy that essentially ended world war two. As I briefly pondered my surprise at the idea of films portraying themes related to recent tragedies I began to think about 9/11 in the United states. Remember me, Zero Dark Thirty, and Fahrenheit 9/11, are all films released to a U.S. within the decade proceeding the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These three films employ themes related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks- the largest attack on U.S soil. This tells me that audiences are apparently content with watching films that portray recent tragedies. Perhaps my surprise that Godzilla would employ nuclear themes is misguided?  It is understandable that Japan would still have been experiencing nuclear paranoia at the time when Godzilla was released, and given the scale of the nuclear attacks, it seems reasonable that a large portion of the Japanese could relate to the films nuclear themes.

As I watched Godzilla my preoccupation with Japanese nuclear paranoia taught me that perhaps film audiences accept, and even embrace themes related to national tragedies. I have also learned what ‘autoethnography’ means.