Leaving the blood in: Experiences with an autoethnographic doctoral thesis

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Autoethnography offers alternative ways of telling stories about our research that differ from the conventions of traditional academic writing. Writing that provides social and cultural analysis, critique and commentary and also details personal, creative and lived stories is important because it offers a form of resistance to dominant, privileged voices in academic work and provides a way of knowing that is more democratic, holistic, ethical and inclusive (Canagarajah, 2002). At doctoral level, legitimising autoethnography as a rigorous methodology is still potentially problematic (Doloriet & Sambrook, 2011). This chapter explores my own experiences of using analytical autoethnography (Anderson, 2006) as a methodology in my thesis and of how my research and my experience of completing the doctorate interspersed and overlapped. Autoethnographies tend to tell stories of pain and suffering which any doctoral student will agree is applicable when detailing the process of completing a thesis. I have attempted to represent the fracturing and splintering of my own life via an evocative and messy text that aims to empower the reader with an enlightened reading, facilitating meaning making that is not determined by an omnipotent author telling them how and what to think. Instead the text interweaves, overlaps, stops and starts and reflects and represents the splintered narratives of my real life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary British Autoethnography
EditorsN. Short, L. Turner, A. Grant
Place of PublicationRotterdam
PublisherSense Publishers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)946209408X
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013

Publication series

NameStudies in professional life and work


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