Documentary As Autoethnography: A Case Study Based on the Changing Surnames of Women


In the autoethnographic research method, researchers analyse their own subjectivity and life experiences, and treat the self as ‘other’ while calling attention to issues of power. At this juncture, the researcher and the researched, the dominant and the subordinate, individual experience and socio-cultural structures can be examined. As an emerging filmmaker I have made the seventeen-minute documentary Yok Anasının Soyadı (Mrs. His Name, 2012) which is defined as a form of self-narrative that places the self within a social context. My filmmaking experience spread the seeds, gave birth to this investigation, created a researcher—me, in this case—and as such, theory in practice and practice in theory go hand in hand. The interdisciplinary nature of this enquiry highlights the link between surnames and identity, which is a crucial human rights debate, and also focuses on the feminist quote ‘the personal is political’. As a case study and ‘practice-led research’, I will present my filmmaking experience. Hence, the cinema of ‘me’ has been transformed into collective expressions of identity. Documentary filmmakers choose whether to include their own voice into the film. A new consciousness is appearing in terms of documentaries, and ‘the other’ is not passive, not driven by an authority which is more reflexive and anarchic rather than obedient in autoethnographic films. In a nutshell, I will share the autoethnographic films which can bring us closer to the human experience and assist in the process of change.

Author Information
Hande Cayir, Istanbul Yeni Yuzyil University, Turkey

Paper Information
Conference: EuroMedia2017
Stream: Film and Literature: Artistic Correspondence

This paper is part of the EuroMedia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon