“I say tomato, You say tomato”. Is Autoethnography Auto/Biography by any other name?
Prior to our holiday break, Dr Judith Chapman and Dr Sarah Collard presented their research at the recent British Sociological Association (BSA) Auto/Biography Conference in London. This was a novel presentation, not limited to following a power point, but involving discussions with one other and the audience about the differences between the two research methods of autoethnography and auto/biography.
As they recently presented on this topic at the Centre for Qualitative Research lunchtime seminar, Judith and Sarah felt warmed up for the conversation and debates that occurred when presenting and discussing the topic in front of an audience of methodological experts within this area! After each shared their own experiences of conducting either authethnography or auto/biography, they opened it up to the audience to debate the merits of the two methods. An exciting and interesting dialogue with the audience ensued, with the ethical considerations of each method being fervently discussed, as well as the challenges of deciding what can be classified as autoethnography or auto/biography. There was no lull in the exchange of views and conference members applauded the informative and interactive element of our presentation.
After our presentation, we were able to forge links with others at the conference and were requested to share our work even more! It was very exciting to be so well received and have such a positive response to the presentation. However, there was no overall consensus and we agreed to differ on the syllabic emphasis of “tomato”!