Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy by Christopher N. Poulos

By Christopher N. Poulos

Each one kin has its secrets and techniques, ones that form relations communique and relationships in a manner often unknown to the outsider and sometimes the relations itself. Autoethnographers, scholars of those relationships, confront many silences of their makes an attempt to appreciate those social worlds. it is usually the unintentional slip, the spontaneous dialogue, the offhanded remark that opens this terrain of secrets and techniques to the conscientious storyteller. unintentional Ethnography delves into this shadowy global of ache and loss within the hopes of discovering effective, moral avenues for remodeling the key lives of households into strong narratives of wish. It merges autoethnographic technique with the healing energy of storytelling to heal family members wounds. Poulos’s lyrical textual content will entice these in ethnography, interpersonal communique, and relations relationships alike.

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Focus again on drawing your reader into your world, this time by telling an engaging story. Write evocatively, passionately, performatively. Write some more. As you write, try following the dictum of the autoethnographer, borrowed from the good novelist, to show, rather than tell, your reader what is going on in your world. Draw the reader into your space, and give her or him a detailed, engaging, and evocative tour of your lifeworld. Writing Exercise 2: Nowstory Next, focus your attention and your writing on your daily life in the here and now.

The floorboards in the spare room are buckling. 38 | Accidental Ethnography The problem with secret memories is that, no matter how much you try to ignore or bury them, they won’t stay put. They show up in the strangest of places, at the oddest of times. Triggered by seemingly random events in our everyday world, the in-breaking of memory can be as faint as a whisper, as nagging as an itch, as blinding as a flash of lightning, as chilling as an Arctic wind, as breathtaking as a plunge into icy water.

My fingers begin to move, and something turns up. Occasionally, something meaningful turns up. I have come to understand and cultivate these moments as moments of spirit rising, of heart. Whether they are shrouded in darkness, or in the dim fog of a memory just returning—or, alternately, dancing in full light before me, shimmering with the magic of creation—these are moments where my body-heart-spiritmind move into a special fusion. And, though I might feel lost in a fog, or at the least a bit fuzzy, about the potential or the purpose or the meaning or the possibilities that the moment may entail, I have begun to trust that something—perhaps something important or powerful—will come, if only I have the patience, the willingness, the passion, and the creativity to chase the mystery.

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