Like all writing, biographies are interpretive. In Interpretive Autoethnography, Norman Denzin combines one of the oldest techniques in the social sciences with one of the newest. Bringing in elements of postmodernism and interpretive social science, he reexamines the biographical and autobiographical genres as methods for qualitative researchers. Grounded in theory and rigorous analysis, this accessible book points up the inherent weaknesses in traditional biographical forms and outlines a new way in which biographies should be conceptualized and shaped. The book provides a guide to the assumptions of the biographical method, to its key terms, and to the strategies for gathering and interpreting such materials. Denzin introduces the key concept of “epiphany,” or turning points in person’s lives. A final chapter returns to autoethnography’s primary purpose: to make sense of our fragmented lives.
1. Assumptions of the Method
2. A Clarification of Terms
3. Interpretive Guidelines
4. Selves, Stories, Experiences
5. Evaluating Performance Autoethnography
6. In Conclusion: Performing Lives