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This online seminar series centres on innovations in research methods and methodologies and is open to scholars with novel approaches to researching narrative, time, and everyday experiences.

Wednesday 6th March 2024
13:00 - 14:00
Online event
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Recover, power, and agency: auto-ethnographic and theoretical reflections

Organised by Dr Brian McDonough, Solent University

Headshot of Kieron Hatton, Solent University

In this seminar, I shall provide a set of reflections on doing autoethnography.

In a recent study, my co-researchers and I made a collaborative decision to use the experience of one of us to explore theoretical and experiential issues around mental health and substance use. To achieve this, we decided to adopt an approach based on auto-ethnography. We decided to use this approach as we felt that people with mental health and substance use issues were often portrayed, at best as ‘victims’, or at worst as lacking in capacity.

Such portrayal is common within academic discourses too. We felt that this was a function of the lack of power and agency attributed to this group of welfare users and wanted to illustrate that people have the capacity to change their situation for the better.

The auto-ethnographic approach has been shown to allow life story narratives to, ‘seek a story that is hopeful, where authors ultimately write themselves as survivors of the story they are living’ (Jones, 2013: 10). We have sought to move beyond this limited definition to reframe autoethnography as centrally predicated on an appreciation of the micro, mezzo, and macro theoretical traditions.  At a theoretical level we have sought to frame our analysis within analyses of power, social capital, recovery, and co-production.

As I shall elaborate upon within this talk, my co-researchers and I feel this positions the author as having the power to influence and change their life situation.

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