chapter  2
26 Pages

Talking Across Fences: Race Maers

Carolyn Ellis's stories focused on interpersonal and family relationships. Her goal in it is to more directly present autoethnography as a social project that helps her understand a larger relational, communal, and political world of which people are a part and that moves them to critical engagement, social action, and social change. With its emphasis on self-understanding, examining lives one at a time, and encouraging voice person by person, autoethnography is a useful way, in addition to traditional social science analyses, to understand the world people lives in; autoethnography is a constructive approach, in addition to changing laws or other macro-political structures, for changing and improving that world. Write about situations that are difficult in a communicative sense, some might say they are "failed" cases. Sometimes people might know what to say, yet be silenced by their difficulties in speaking. The self-questioning that autoethnography demands are extremely difficult", she tells a student in the class she describes in The Ethnographic I.