Review Essay: Ethnography, Travel Writing and the Self: Reflections on Socially Robust Knowledge and the Authorial Ego

  • Andrea Stöckl University of London
Keywords: auto-ethnography, creative writing, travel writing, post-modernity, post-structuralism


The art of ethnographic writing has become more complex in the period following post-modernity. Whilst issues of authorship, alterity and similarity, and the ethnographic ego were addressed in the Writing Culture debates of the 1980s, new forms of ethnographic writing are currently being developed. The reviewed book suggests a crossover between sociological/ethnographic and creative/literary writing. Eight chapters take the reader on journeys to Europe, the Middle East and parts of the US. The authors describe their journeys whilst relating what they see to their own experiences. This technique is examined by asking what kind of readership is envisaged. A critique of the authorial ego is attempted and a way out of the self-centredness of the ego-centred style of ethnography is offered. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0602110


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Author Biography

Andrea Stöckl, University of London
Andrea STöCKL is currently a Wellcome Trust Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has an M.A. in History from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and a M.Sc. in Medical Anthropology at Brunel University of West London. She completed her studies by doing a Ph.D. in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her main interests are the anthropology and sociology of medicine and science. She has recently rediscovered her interests in the relationship between (institutionalised) ethics and morality and in the relationship between art and science. In a previous issue of FQS Andrea STöCKL has reviewed "Virtual Ethnicity" ( (by Nils ZURAWSKI, 2000).