Researching from the inside
autoethnography and critical event studies
Events are experiences. There has been growing attention paid to concepts like "experiential marketing" within the field of events management and event studies, but there has been less focus on how groups and individuals experience events from personal and social perspectives. Autoethnography is a useful research method to begin to address this gap. Autoethnography allows the researcher to use highly personal, often emotional and (hopefully) evocative accounts to try and engage the reader in the event experience. Personal stories can be powerful ways in which to discuss wider social issues and have the potential to enrich critical event studies by providing alternative and revealing accounts of events.In this chapter, I demonstrate various ways in which autoethnography can be used to provide insight into event experiences from the perspectives of both event spectators/attendees and event participants (in this case sporting competitors). I use autoethnographic vignettes to illustrate how personal stories can be crafted to reveal more than just an interesting story and can in fact act as a springboard to discussions of wider issues within event studies. The chapter shows how autoethnography requires thorough consideration of how a personal story (the "auto") links to wider social issues (the "ethno") through carefully crafted writing (the "graphy"). Autoethnography is a demanding method to adopt, and has been subject to numerous critiques within the broader social sciences, but is gaining in prominence and is an interesting and challenging approach through which to engage students, researchers and broader audiences in a variety of issues that underpin critical event studies.
Dashper, K. (2016)., Researching from the inside: autoethnography and critical event studies, in L. Platt (ed.), Critical event studies, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 213-229.
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