Review Essay: Autoethnography: Answerability/Responsibility in Authoring Self and Others in the Social Sciences/Humanities

  • Mary H. Maguire McGill University
Keywords: autoethnography, representation, reflexivity, voice, answerability, consciousness


ELLIS' methodological novel about autoethnography is an example of the increasing emergence of alternative forms of writing in the social sciences/humanities that focus on a dialogic notion of self, voice and human consciousness. Autoethnography is a genre of writing in which authors draw on their own lived experiences, connect the personal to the cultural and place the self and others within a social context (REED-DANAHAY, 1997). To understand this commitment to self-reflexive ways of knowing and writing, I draw on BAKHTIN's concept of authoring as creative answerability/responsibility (otvetsvennost) that views a self as answerable not only to the social environment, but is also answerable for the authoring of its responses. The Ethnographic I serves as a useful text to engage the issues that autoethnography raises both as genre and alternative discourses for authoring self and others. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0602165


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Author Biography

Mary H. Maguire, McGill University
Mary H. MAGUIRE is a Professor of second language education in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Faculty of Education at McGill University. Her interdisciplinary research agenda include ethnographic and qualitative studies in multiple and multilingual literacies in diverse heritage language, culturally diverse contexts, multilingual children's identity, cultural positioning and speaking personalities. She teaches courses in Ethnographic, Qualitative Research Methods, Multilingual Literacies and Foundations of Second Language Education.