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Heightened Performative Autoethnography

Resisting Oppressive Spaces within Paradigms


William M. Sughrua

This book argues for – and carries out – what the author terms Heightened Performative Autoethnography (HPA). The common theme throughout the volume involves resisting oppressive and hegemonic spaces within paradigms, and hence seeking epistemological liberation. The text methodologically and conceptually situates this newly proposed variant of autoethnography, while contextualizing and justifying its «performed or enacted» theme involving resistance against the oppressiveness of paradigms. The book concludes with an analysis and commentary, demonstrating how this particular theme, and HPA as a research and writing repertoire, are able to meaningfully respond to the eighth moment of contemporary qualitative research, which calls for a critical and social justice agenda directed at empowerment, equity, liberation, and related issues. Heightened Performative Autoethnography could be used in upper-level undergraduate classes and graduate courses within the social sciences, humanities, and education, for courses on critical theory, contemporary research methodology, performative studies, narrative writing, and related subjects.
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Foreword by Norman K. Denzin


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Norman K. Denzin

William M. Sughrua’s important new book, Heightened Performative Autoethnography, “is directed to ‘critically engaged’ researchers and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and education” (Chapter 1, p. 1). It offers a social advocacy agenda for those who feel a “responsibility to address processes of unfairness or injustice within a particular lived domain” (Madison, 2012, p. 5; italics in original). This is a type of autoethnography in which the author-researcher “is a protagonist, character, witness narrator, or some such integral player within the evolving story to the extent that she/he becomes deeply engrained within the dramatic dimension of the paper, apparently more so than in other types of autoethnography” (Chapter 1, p. 6).

A decade ago the field of autoethnography was just gaining a foothold and had yet to be linked with the performance turn in anthropology and communication studies. Critical pedagogy was a literature onto itself, a branch of critical theory, with links to the Frankfurt School, Habermas, Gramsci, Paulo Freire, and Agusto Boal.1

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