Author: iremki

Understanding Autoethnography

While the term autoethnography is new to me, as I read further into Ellis’ work Autoethnography: An Overview I realised that I have sought out this kind of research subconsciously for a long time to be able to understand cultures that are very different from my own. Autoethnography is a combination of autobiography and ethnography. The combination of the two allow for a culture to be experienced and analysed through personal and interpersonal experiences. Ellis describes how autoethnographers select epiphanies that could only stem from being immersed in a culture and this is what differentiates autoethnography from other methods of research.

Recently I delved into various documentaries and books about North Korea to learn about the country, and more specifically, to try and gain an understanding of how the people of North Korea view the world and their own lives. The most engaging and eye opening of these were the ones that gave first-hand accounts of their experience and expressed their ideas and views about what they were experiencing. Essentially, these epiphanies are what connect us with a culture that others might not be able to experience first-hand. This particular series by Vice is one that engaged with the experience of the North Korean culture to present what they found and how it made them feel from a Westerners point of view.

Autoethnography doesn’t play by a set criteria making it more of a creative process than a scientific one. However, when it comes to understanding cultures a creative understanding allows the audience to connect more with the research. Ellis (2011) states that when using autoethnography the most important questions are –

Who reads our work?

How are they affected by it?

How does it keep a conversation going?

By answering these questions, autoethnographers set their own criteria based on the individual research. While autoethnography can be considered unreliable to some I think in ways it creates more value than traditional research through its emotional connections. Comparing different accounts and different research will help in gaining a holistic view of a culture. I am looking forward to engaging with autoethnography through my own project and allowing myself to let go of the objective method to research that I have become accustom to and explore my personal experiences.

 

Reference

ELLIS, Carolyn; ADAMS, Tony E.; BOCHNER, Arthur P.. Autoethnography: An Overview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, nov. 2010. ISSN 1438-5627. Available at: <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>

Gojira – An eye opening experience

I’ll be honest, sitting down to Gojira I didn’t expect it to be my cup of tea and had no idea of the parallels it would have to Japan and WWII. My expectations were low but in the end, I was surprised at how much I appreciated it. Having been to Japan and having a huge interest in their culture was the one thing drawing me to this movie and the knowledge I have on Japanese culture made me feel like I understood it a whole lot better. Having a Turkish background as well I can see some similarities between these cultures and this again helped me empathise with these characters even more.

I admit the special effects were a comical element at the beginning and it took time to not focus on it. In saying this there is a turning point in this film where you stop noticing the black and white and the subtitles and become really invested in the storyline. I think amongst our class this became evident and there was a shift from our tweets being humorous to drawing out the plot and message.

I have watched black and white films as well as films with subtitles however I can’t recall having watched a film with both elements together. While I find it more difficult to understand the tone in which dialogue is being said with subtitles I think it was pretty clear for most of the characters throughout (with the exception of Emiko… her emotions confused me more than anything else in the movie).

Having been to Hiroshima recently this film really reinforced how the Japanese people felt about nuclear weapons and World War 2 and demonstrated how raw these events were then and now. It went beyond just a giant lizard attacking people and I found myself getting really into the deeper plot line. For me, this film really voiced the things I had read and seen at Hiroshima. The scene in which a mother was holding her children waiting for death, tore me apart and paralleled the stories about Hiroshima I had heard.

All in all watching Gojira was an eye opening experience and has inspired me to watch more Japanese films. Despite my doubts I have to say it was a pretty great movie.