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Autoethnography as a praxis of care – the promises and pitfalls of autoethnography as a commitment to care

Merel Visse (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Alistair Niemeijer (University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 8 August 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the possibilities of autoethnography as a commitment to care and a social justice agenda (Denzin, 2014:p. x).

Design/methodology/approach

Autoethnography can be seen as a “methodology that allows us to examine how the private troubles of individuals are connected to public issues and to public responses to these troubles” (Mills, 1959, cited in Denzin, 2014). This resonates strongly with the field of study: political care ethics, as the main focus is on how to promote a caring society. “Care” might be conceived broadly as everything the authors do to maintain and repair the world; i.e., as a social praxis.

Findings

Care ethics can benefit from autoethnography, as there is a strong(er) emphasis on “what matters,” what people care for, about and why, rather than on what is “right.” In this paper, the authors will thus explore the promises and pitfalls of autoethnography for a caring society, by connecting insights from theories on political care ethics and qualitative inquiry with the own autoethnographic performance at the International Conference on Qualitative Inquiry in May 2015.

Originality/value

Care ethics can benefit from autoethnography, as there is a strong(er) emphasis on “what matters,” what people care for, about and why, rather than on what is “right.”

Keywords

Citation

Visse, M. and Niemeijer, A. (2016), "Autoethnography as a praxis of care – the promises and pitfalls of autoethnography as a commitment to care", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 301-312. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-04-2016-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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