“Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience(auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)" (Ellis, 2004)
In my previous blog, I wrote about the things I observed and I once experienced when I was a huge fan of anything Korean related. Ellis stated that “people must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience" and I believe that is what happened to me in order to deeply understand Korean Culture. I learnt their language because of my immense love for the Korean Culture, I picked up some slangs, their habits and even delve into their drinking culture and their etiquette when eating in a Korean restaurant.
For my research, I wanted to do qualitative research on those who love Korean Culture. May it be K-pop, K-dramas, K-fashion or Korean Food. I based my research on personal experience, observing, and interviewing friends and strangers who are into the Korean Culture.
Obersavtion and Interview
There are still a lot of young adults in my age who are still into K-pop. I was walking through the Olympic one night from work and there a public dance spot in Olympic station. Not only the Breakers practice there but also dance group who does K-pop dance covers. I could hear K-pop music blasting, people dancing step by step to every song that played and to my surprise, they know the steps to each song that played. It reminded me of when I was also like them. I grew out it but it was nostalgic to see others do it.
I have a lot of friends who love K-pop especially my local friends. I asked them what attracts them to these K-pop idols and most of them said that it’s because they are so attractive and charismatic. It makes them want to be like them. An aspiring K-pop star. Some of them said that K-pop is the reason why they started dancing.
Back when I was still in secondary school form 4 – 5, I was a huge fan of the K-pop group, BTS a.k.a Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bangtan Boys. Ever since their debut (a term in Korea which means their first ever appearance into the entertainment world), I was taken by them. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t taken by them because of their talent, I was taken by them because of their looks. They were all so attractive and good looking, I researched BTS more and found myself falling deeper with them. BTS wasn’t the first K-pop group I fell in love with. I was an old school K-pop fan. Back when the old school K-pop group were still a thing like 2NE1, Big Bang, 2PM, Girl’s Generation, etc.
Autoethnography helps us understand an individual’s world through rich data, first-hand information, and personal experience. Through personal attestation from an individual whose culture you’re researching about helps researchers like us students and readers understand how these individuals experience their certain culture or sub-culture. Providing a better understanding of the topic or culture.
I researched on K-pop and the Korean Culture here in Hong Kong and I’ve experienced it first-hand and observed it from afar. I am writing this blog so I can let other readers who are interested know about the Korean Culture. When writing an Autoethnography, it is also like writing a story, creating and enforcing emotions while writing and reading the piece. To get the mechanics in the brain working. Providing factual evidence, interview sessions or other research materials helps explain, the autoethnography piece is able to grab the attention of researchers or casual readers.
Writing an autoethnography is like a new world to me especially as a blogger. It really helped me look into writing as a therapeutic way to release. Ellis (2015) stated that “Writing personal stories can also be therapeutic for participants and readers." So it is also comforting to know that people can actually gain knowledge through reading blogs like what we’re doing in BCMs.
- Ellis, C (2015). Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, N& 10016: Oxford University Press