Autoethnography as ‘Valid’ Methodology? A Study of Disrupted Identity Narratives

By Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson and John Hockey.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Despite its burgeoning popularity in recent years, autoethnography is still considered a contentious, even a ‘self-indulgent’ genre, at least within some quarters of the social sciences, where it is viewed as more akin to ‘navel-gazing’ autobiography than to rigorous social scientific research. This article considers some of the advantages and challenges of working with a variation of the genre – a collaborative autoethnography. Our research project examined from a sociological perspective disrupted athletic identities occasioned by long-term sporting injuries. Whilst not a narrative analysis per se, we examine here some of the narratives (spoken and written) co-produced during the process of injury and rehabilitation. Such narrative activity facilitated sense-making at the phenomenological, interactional and analytic levels, and helped counteract the threat of identity disruption caused by long-term, serious injury. The article considers the potential of the autoethnograhic approach for providing unique insights into lived-body experiences, and concludes with a discussion of just some of the ethical issues arising from this methodological approach.

Keywords: Autoethnography, Ethics, Narratives, Sporting Injuries

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.209-218. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 561.221KB).

Dr. Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

Lecturer in Qualitative Research, Qualitative Research Unit, School of Sport & Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK

Dr. Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson is based in the Qualitative Research Unit, in the School of Sport & Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. Her current research interests cohere around the sociology and phenomenology of the sporting body, including the injured body; narratives of intimate partner violence; occupational and ‘serious leisure’ identities, and identity work among various groups, including injured athletes, contract researchers, research administrators and doctoral students.

Dr. John Hockey

University of Gloucestershire

Dr. John Hockey is Research Fellow at the University of Gloucestershire. His previously published research spans the sociology of sport, the sociology of occupations and doctoral education. His current interests are focused upon sensory practices which constitute the foundations of doing both work and sport.

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