New literary forms for the social sciences: Autoethnography

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Abstract

This is a study of what it is to write up a piece of research. That is, a study of the power of writing. Postmodemism has had its sway over social psychology as such as over the other social sciences. It has set a query against established forms of scientific writing, and what they imply. Social studies of science and technology have debunked the fiction of scientific method, especially in the allegedly "hard" sciences. Equally, in the so-called "soft" sciences, New, experimental forms of ethnography, done by postmodern anthropologists, have doubted the very idea of the ethnographer's authority. Whether qualitative or quantitative, all methods are now in question. This article reviews new literary forms which might offer a way to both challenge the ever-present issues of power, while at the same time keeping true to the social scientist's fundamental aim - to promote society's reflection on itself. To do so, one will have to break fee from such limiting, but unconscious, binaries as the divide between object and subject, reality and fiction, and between form and content. Autoethnography, as Creative Analytical Practice presents itself as one such promising literary form.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-271
JournalAthenea Digital
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Autoethnography
  • Creative analytical practices
  • Writing

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