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The Papers: The Autoethnography
Defining the individual through a group
Scores of organizations are lining UCO's sidewalks, promising benefits and activities sponsored by their group. Why join one, or any of them? Why not? No doubt by this time in your life you are a member of at least a few groups, likely several. Why are you a member of any given group, whether its basis lay in a religious, volunteer, or professional interest? For your initial paper in our class, you are to write an autoethnography, analyzing one group to which you belong.
The autoethnography is a self-written analysis determining why you belong to a particular group. The emphasis here is on analysis rather than history. While you may have joined the Boy Scouts as a grade school child, remaining with the organization until achieving Eagle Scout status must have involved certain decisions on your part. What are those decisions, and how did you arrive at them? You may have decided against joining the Boy Scouts in favor of another group. Why? While my example is based on a voluntary club, you can just as easily write about how you are involved in a group you were born into, i.e., an ethnic group, your own family, etc.
This paper is intended for you to think about your decisions and how they affect you and others. These pages will provide you and your students tools to enhance their understanding of the autoethnography assignment.