#DIGC330 #Autoethnography #stateofplay

Autoethnography: An Understanding.

After reading ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘ I have realised the importance of NOT delving into your own personal story in relation to experiencing a culture WITHOUT analysing that experience. It is important to experience, observe and to question.
Autoethnography is a qualitative research methodology that combines autobiography and ethnography. Such a combination ultimately allows the researcher to uncover a large amount of information about a culture.
Epiphanies are experiences gained from immersing oneself into a culture and are powerful reflective tools used by autoethnographers:

In primary school I developed a love and appreciation for Asian culture.
When I was in year three I befriended a Vietnamese girl.
I distinctly remember enjoying her company because she introduced me to a completely different world, one that I had previously been unaware of.
In my micro world bubble, she brought in macro world elements of Vietnamese culture, including food, music, stationary and other miscellaneous things.
This friendship allowed me to garner a more personal experience with the culture itself and taught me to be understanding and sensitive towards it and its values.

I feel very enthusiastic about conducting an autoethnographic study on Asian culture. As I have grown older, I have found myself increasingly interested in the way people from this culture express themselves, be it through their eclectic and quirky Harajuku street fashion, their photography, art and/or music.

This video provides insight into why ‘decora girls’ dress this way. The interviewer engages in participant observation to gain a deeper understanding of life as a decora girl and why it is such a popular phenomenon. It is a symbol of rebellion against the mainstream values of ‘order and discipline’ that are engrained within Japanese culture. However, the interviewer ultimately communicates that this fashion is an integral part of identity; a subculture signifier.

Similarly, from my own observations, this cutesy, kawaii fashion reminded me of that seen in famous Japanese anime, including Sailor Moon and Mew Mew Power.


With my current understanding of autoethnography, I would like to work with a group to analyse various elements of Asian culture including food, tv shows, movies, fashion etc. This analysis could be strengthened through interviews and participant observations. The participant observations would be a great way to immerse myself into the culture and to quickly expand my knowledge of it. I feel that these experiences would be effectively documented through video and uploaded to YouTube.

I am conscious of doing this in a manner that is objective, respectful and non exploitative. However, I realise that ‘…subjectivity, emotionality, and the researcher’s influence on research…’ are natural parts of the autoethnographic process.



Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol.12, no.1, viewed 11th August 2017, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095>.

270RPM doesn’t make the cut

“Autoethnography “-Understanding it as a research practise that focuses on self reflection, the way in which a researcher, through personal experiences, understands and makes meaning, this supports Ellis’s reading ‘to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience.’ Similar to Bronislaw Malinowski, his field journals ultimately experience and document the honesty in a public domain that others may otherwise not see. In DIGC330 week 2, I viewed a Documentary named State of Play’ set during the transition between Star Craft and Star Craft 2.

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Here’s a documentation of my experience:

  • Set in South Korea- it opened with a camera pan of the city. All the way through this documentary the weather was grey and horrid. Not too much excitement happening weather wise for any of the contestants. Is this why they were so attached to playing StarCraft?
  • It was interesting to see that all the gamers were male. I hate to be one to talk about gender, but this documentary focused on portraying the gamers as very masculine figure within North Korean culture. The inclusion of fan girls added to this gender dynamic. (But really, why were they fan girling over esports? It just didn’t make sense)
  • A coherent universal story between parents and son in this documentary could be easily followed. The question of what are you doing with your life? Is this really what you want to be doing with your life? Were questions that are even asked in our families. It was nice to have a culture entirely different from our own, that somewhat became similar.
  • Nice to see what happens where a team isn’t always winning, the documentary became another thing entirely. Not just following the player’s success but also seeing them at their lowest when they weren’t winning, as well as letting people see the real him was a very important sense of victory. When the esports players compared this to football the concepts of winning, losing, rivalry and patience all became universally understood. Even though someone like me, who hasn’t seen or even heard of Esports, began to understand how important playing and training was for the StarCraft players. This made it a lot easier to follow.
  • Korean food was very apparent as well as portraying a strong sense of culture- which also made me extremely hungry.
  • As discussed in my live tweeting during watching the documentary. I noted that I was interested in the way gamers brains worked differently to ours, its like they use a completely different part of their brain. For instance, 270 RPM was slow in the competition!!! That’s physically impossible for me to even comprehend.
  • The way generations respond to technology based on their culture was also worth exploring more in-depth. A lot of the more traditional/reserved generations, believed gaming is a waste of time and just didn’t understand the significance in participating in Esports. Whereas for the gamers it was their life and their dream.