Following on from my previous blog post, where I discussed my reasoning behind my chosen topic for my digital artefact, this blog post will focus on analysing my auto-ethnographic methodologies I intend to use for this project.
As Ellis, Adams and Bochner explain in their overview of auto-ethnography, “auto-ethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno).” (Ellis et al, 2011) For my research project, I will be analysing my experience with Japanese horror films in an attempt to understand the culture of the Japanese film industry.
I originally chose this topic because I thought it would be a fun way of exploring something I never thought I would experience. However, after conducting my initial research on the topic, I encountered my first ‘epiphany’. Many J-Horror films are based on Japanese urban legends and folktales, and this discovery made me realise that I have an opportunity to learn far more about Japanese culture than I had originally anticipated.
As Leon Anderson states, one of the advantages to auto-ethnographic research is that it focuses on self-understanding.
“The kind of self-understanding I am talking
about lies at the intersection of biography and society: self-knowledge that
comes from understanding our personal lives, identities, and feelings as
deeply connected to and in large part constituted by—and in turn helping to
constitute—the sociocultural contexts in which we live.”
(Anderson, 2006, p. 390)
Currently, my self-understanding in relation to my topic is that I’m not a huge fan of horror films – I’m not alone when I say that I don’t like being scared. However, in light of my epiphany, I realise that I am closing myself off to a whole genre that’s rich in culture and history, making me ignorant to a large part of society. Improving my understanding of this genre, as well as the people that find joy in consuming this content, could allow me to become more open-minded and empathetic towards other cultural norms.
In my previous blog post, I referred to the reflexive approach to auto-ethnographic research. This form of auto-ethnography is incredibly important for achieving the ‘self-understanding’ that Anderson discusses. Reflexive ethnography is when a researcher also documents the personal developments and changes that they’ve experienced over the course of their research, as a form of establishing a deeper connection with their chosen culture. (Ellis et al. 2011) As my previous experiences with horror films have not exactly been positive, I’m hoping that I will encounter a few personal changes throughout my research – which will hopefully include improving my tolerance for scary movies. Although, even if my stance on horror films doesn’t change, acquiring knowledge of a new culture will certainly result in some personal developments that I can reflect on in my final project.
Anderson, L. (2006) ‘Analytic Autoethnography’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 373-393.
Ellis, C, Adams, ET & Bochner, AP (2011), ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Research, vol. 12, no. 1.
Myers, C. (N.D.) ‘7 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends That Inspired Horror Films’ Ranker. Viewed: 16 September 2018 <https://www.ranker.com/list/japanese-urban-legends-that-inspired-horror-films/christopher-myers>