BCM320 Autoethnographic Project: A Contextual Essay

For the individual autoethnographic research project, I looked at the world of Japanese Pop (J-Pop), in particular Japanese girl idol group such as Momoiro Clover Z. To further understand my autoethnographic approach to this field site, it is necessary to discuss the methodology that assisted in my research.

I presented my findings in the form of media-rich blog posts. Ellis et al (2011) describe how when writing autoethnography, it is much more engaging to use techniques of “showing” rather than merely “telling”, as it offers a way to bring readers onto the scene in order to “experience an experience”. Through embedding links, YouTube videos and even my own Spotify playlist, my digital artifact allowed me to make my research engaging and emotionally rich.

Anderson (2006) provides an interesting counterbalance to the work of Ellis et al (2011) by putting forward a more analytic approach. When discussing the importance of being a visible and active researcher in the text as one characteristic of analytic autoethnography, Anderson (2006) explains that a central feature is for the researcher to be highly visible in the narrative or written text, with their own feelings and experiences being incorporated into the story (p. 384). To collect data for this project, I decided to live tweet my reactions to the music videos I had selected. You can access these tweets here. The integration of these live tweets provided instantaneous epiphanies that stem from my own cultural framework and possession of my cultural identity (Ellis et al 2011). I was able to focus on these epiphanies when analysing the collected data. This presentation of my feelings through live tweets is considered as vital data for how I understood the field site of J-Pop that was being researched.

Where Ellis et al (2011) and Anderson (2006) focus more on describing their perspective on autoethnography, Alsop (2002) is a way to further understand what autoethnography can look like in practice. This was a helpful perspective for me when approaching my autoethnographic research and in considering how I would understand the field site I had chosen. Alsop (2002) describes auto-ethnography as “an attempt at practicing this self-reflexivity by having a closer look at one’s own longings and belongings, with the familiarity that… it can change one’s perspective considerably” (p. 1). I noticed that my understanding of what constitutes a typical ‘pop’ music video influenced my perception of the J-Pop music videos that I watched. In my own background of being immersed in predominately Western culture, I have rarely encountered music with such an overwhelming sense of fun and happiness, which I refer to in my blog

Despite experiencing a completely different cultural object in the form of J-Pop, I learnt a lot about not only the field site, but also about myself as an autoethnographic researcher. Overall, the experience was rewarding, enjoyable, and eye opening to both different cultures and a new way of conducting research.

References:

Alsop, C. K 2002, ‘Home and Away: Self-Reflexive Auto-Ethnography’, Qualitative Social Research, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 1-15.

Anderson, L 2006, ‘Analytic Autoethnography’, Journal of Contemporary Autoethnography, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 373-393.

Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., and Bochner, A. P. 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, retrieved from http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095

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