The Perils And Privileges Of Auto Ethnography

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Reading Response Week 4: The Perils and Privileges of Auto-Ethnography

Although not mentioned in this week’s Marshall/Rossman chapter, feminism and autoethnography has popped up before in prior readings, so there is some familiarity with both concepts. Now comes what their synthesis looks like in practice. In this light the readings forced me to re-examine positionality, especially in the framework of auto-ethnography. At first I thought this was too obvious but in light of the titular question Stacey asks – “Can There Be a Feminist Ethnography?” – the feminist researcher’s proximity to the data and interpretation positionality becomes the fraught answer to consider, Her awkwardness (if that’s the right word) in balancing the tightrope as an ethical researcher between product and personal integrity feels unexpected yet palpable. The dilemma she faces “forced my recognition that conflicts of interest and emotion between the ethnographer as authentic, related person (i.e. participant), and as exploiting researcher (i.e. observer)” (23). I feel as if she as a feminist researcher was startled by the dilemma she faced and wonder if her surprise was compounded by not anticipating it . How much an epiphany is it to learn that participants come with their own agendas? Therefore participants come with their own inherent powers which threaten to usurp the researcher and her own objectives. In the wake of this surprise she asks the provocative introspective question

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