Volume 6 Issue 1 (2010): Autoethnography as Research Practice
Using Autoethnography to Explicate Social Identities

Methodological and Analytical Dilemmas in Autoethnographic Research

Elena Maydell
Victoria University of Wellington
Published September 1, 2010
  • autoethnography,
  • insider/outsider dilemma,
  • social constructionism,
  • positioning theory,
  • Russian immigrants


This article presents an argument on the application of theoretical and methodological frameworks to the study of identity from an autoethnographic perspective. In order to guide the analysis process, the author employed social constructionism as the main theoretical foundation, whereas thematic analysis and positioning theory were deployed as the methodological frameworks. Further, in the process of using ethnographic methods to study the identity of Russian immigrants to New Zealand, the author found herself also needing to use autoethnography to interrogate and understand her own journey. The insider/outsider position of the author who belongs to the same minority group became the most vital tool in her identity construction. In this regard, it is impossible to engage fully with the autoethnographic research practice without understanding the impact of others on identity construction of self, and a strong theoretical and methodological scholarship can provide a valuable foundation for this process.