Difference Between Autoethnography and Autobiography

Qualitative methods of sociological research is widely used throughout the civilized world. They allow for a deeper analysis of public opinion, and to see patterns of perception of social information, so they are indispensable for practical use.

At the same time, the relevance of autoethnography and autobiography arose. Autoethnography includes the researcher himself in its subject and has many aspects that are not reducible to spatial-geographical. An autobiography contains more information than a resume, so the employer can get a better idea of you. In addition, many employers who ask to write a CV pay attention to the style of writing, sentence structure, literacy, etc.

Autoethnography vs Autobiography

Autoethnography is a very important method of self-discovery. It is an opportunity to learn to explore yourself and your own world. It is not only a road to your own well-being but also a way to understand other people, to become closer to them while preserving your uniqueness. On the other hand, an autobiography is a document in which a person describes the main events of his life, usually in chronological order. 

Often the form of autobiography, valid at a particular employer, may include questions, on the basis of the answers to which the employer can draw a conclusion about your personal and professional qualities.

By the way, in some companies (mostly in large ones) the CV written by an employee is studied not only by personnel officers, but also by security officers, and sometimes even by psychologists.

Writing about one’s own ethnic heritage, culture, and unique personal experiences within a particular cultural context is known as autoethnography. It is characterized as a technique and serves as a record of events and individuals, it is regarded as an academic text.

Comparison Table Between Autoethnography and Autobiography 

Parameters of ComparisonAutoethnographyAutobiography 
DefinitionAn author typically conducts some kind of research before beginning any writing projectA self-written biography is a unique story of one’s own life.
Meaningform of qualitative researchfree-form description of the main stages of a person’s life
Conceptmethod of self-discoverydocument in which a person describes the main events of his life
Structure Research must be madeShould include personal information
How to writeis a self-reflexive form of writing used in a variety of disciplines such as communication studies, performance studies, educationis written by hand on a sheet of A4 paper, or it can be written in a special form

What is Autoethnography?

Autoethnography is a form of qualitative research in which the author uses self-reflection and writing to explore anecdotal and personal experiences and to relate this autobiographical history to broader cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. Autoethnography is a self-reflexive form of writing used in a variety of disciplines such as communication studies, performance studies, education, English literature, anthropology, social work, sociology, history, psychology, theology, religious studies, marketing, business and educational management, art education, nursing, and physical therapy.

An author typically conducts some kind of research before beginning any writing project. Searching for location names, significant dates that are pertinent to their story, or even notable cultural events that the author would have been exposed to.

What is Autobiography?

An autobiography is a free-form description of the main stages of a person’s life. An autobiography, just like a characteristic, is needed when applying for a job. You may also need it for the military registration office or when applying to study.

The autobiography is written by hand on a sheet of A4 paper, or it can be written in a special form. The form of presentation is narrative, in the first person singular.

Structure of autobiography:

The following information is usually included in the autobiography:

  1. The surname, first name,
  2. Full date of birth,
  3. Citizenship,
  4. Information on education obtained (names of educational institutions, received specialties/professions, features of diplomas/certificates, etc.),
  5. Information on additional education received (names of educational institutions, received specialties/professions/skills, etc.),
  6. Information on foreign language skills,
  7. Information on labor activity (periods of work, names of companies, positions held),
  8. Information on marital status. By the way, sometimes, in addition to information about an employee’s spouse and children, the employer wants more detailed information about the employee’s family members and close relatives. This usually refers to their place of employment. Generally, this information is required by the employer in order to avoid conflicts of interest,
  9. Memberships in management bodies of other organizations,
  10. Information about special statuses that entitle the employee to certain benefits (single mother, disabled person, etc.),
  11. Information about the presence/absence of a criminal record. Sometimes employers ask whether the employee has a criminal record not only of himself/herself but also of his/her family members/close relatives.

The word “autobiography” is supposed to have first appeared in Europe during the Renaissance, around the 15th century. The phrase was originally used in 1797 by William Taylor in an English publication, and it was adopted to characterize a person’s life story in the 19th century.

Main Differences Between Autoethnography and Autobiography

Autoethnography 

  1. The purpose of autoethnography is primarily to tell outsiders about your culture or group through personal understanding and empirical investigation.
  2. Autoethnography helps people actually within your group or culture better understand themselves and the shared experience of that community.
  3. Autoethnography is written in the context of ethnographic writing and fieldwork
  4. There can be no strict definition in autoethnography
  5. The key to autoethnography is the analytical relationship between memoir

Autobiography

  1. An autobiography is a self-written biography that is a unique story of one’s own life.
  2. An autobiography is written based on your own memories and experiences.
  3. Autography includes in itself personal information and information about special statuses.
  4. A full autobiography is a person’s life story told by himself or herself.
  5. An autobiography is usually written by a person himself.

Conclusion

Journaling, going through institutional or personal archives, conducting one’s own interviews, and using writing to develop a self-cultural awareness are all examples of autoethnographic practices. 

The required research methodologies are the main distinction between autoethnography and autobiography. An autobiography is written from one’s own memories and experiences, whereas autoethnography requires both quantitative and qualitative research.

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