Edited by Sara Delamont
Chapter 25: Autoethnography
Peter de Vries DIALOGUE BETWEEN SELF NOW (PETER2010) AND SELF THINKING ABOUT UNDERTAKING A PHD (PETER1996) Peter2010: So you’re thinking about doing a PhD are you Peter? Peter1996: Yes Peter, I am. Peter2010: On what topic? Peter1996: Me. Peter2010: You? Peter1996: Yes, me. Well actually about me as a music teacher. Peter2010: Why would you do that? Peter1996: To learn more about my practice as a teacher and to learn more about me. And I guess for other people – other teachers, educators, parents – to understand how difficult, how isolating and how important this job is. Peter2010: Oooh, you’re sounding a bit political there. Peter1996: Yes, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what music teachers actually do and the kinds of dilemmas we face which are unique to being a primary school music teacher. Peter2010: So it sounds like you want to conduct an autoethnography. Peter1996: I do? Peter2010: I think so. I mean, you like to write – you’ve published poetry, short stories, even a children’s book. Peter1996: True. But how is that related to a PhD and to autoethnography? Peter2010: Autoethnography embraces writing that moves beyond the confines of academic writing. Autoethnographers write poetry, short stories, conversations with themselves like the one we’re having right now, play scripts, you name it. It’s about being a boundary-crosser (ReedDanahay, 1997) – and one of those boundaries us autoethnographers cross are the boundaries of writing genres. Peter1996: Okay, but you still haven’t told me what autoethnography is. Peter2010: Well it’s not that easy. Like...
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