A Millennial Methodology? Autoethnographic Research in Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Punk and Activist Communities





autoethnography, Do-It-Yourself, punk, activism, veganism, millennials


In a recent MailOnline article, CLEARY described millennials as "entitled, narcissistic, self-interested, unfocussed and lazy" (2017, n.p.). The language echoed DELAMONT's (2007) critique of autoethnography, an approach to research that examines the social world through the lens of the researcher's own experience (WALL, 2016), a form of academic "selfie" (CAMPBELL, 2017). We offer two case studies of autoethnographic projects, one examining punk culture, the other examining the practice of veganism. We highlight the challenges we faced when producing insider autoethnographic research, drawing a parallel with criticism frequently levelled at the so-called millennial generation, specifically notions of laziness and narcissism (TWENGE, 2014). We argue that, though often maligned and ridiculed based on its perception as a lazy and narcissistic approach to research, autoethnography remains a valuable and worthwhile research strategy that attempts to qualitatively and reflexively make sense of the self and society in an increasingly uncertain and precarious world. Using case study evidence, we offer empirical support to WALL's (2016) call for a moderate autoethnography, which seeks a middle ground between analytic and evocative autoethnographic traditions.


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Author Biographies

Nathan David Stephens Griffin, Northumbria University

Nathan STEPHENS GRIFFIN is a lecturer in criminology at Northumbria University. His research interests include animal advocacy, environmentalism, and other forms of political activism, with a particular interest in the criminalisation of political protest. He is also interested in biographical, visual and graphic narrative approaches to social research.

Naomi Christina Griffin, Durham University

Naomi GRIFFIN is a researcher in the Department of Sport and Exercise and the Department of Sociology at Durham University. Her research interests include social justice movements and activism, identity, inequality, children and young people & education, social policy and animal advocacy. She also has an interest in discourse analysis.




How to Cite

Stephens Griffin, N. D., & Griffin, N. C. (2019). A Millennial Methodology? Autoethnographic Research in Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Punk and Activist Communities. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.3.3206