3rd European Congress of Qualitative Enquiry: Qualitative Enquiry as Activism - Imagining adoptive family kinship; a commitment to an evocative analytic autoethnography

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


    Analysis of the literature in the initial stages of this study showed that the adoptive family interactions that I and others have experienced could not be explained by a singular, precise conceptual framework. Initially, two contrasting possibilities in positioning and organising my autoethnographic study seemed relevant. Evocative first person narrative and/or analytic autoethnogarphy (Anderson 2006).
    Analytic autoethnography and powerful, evocative first-person narratives such as fiction, autobiography, poetry, and traditional ethnography are distinctly different, yet are part of the same continuum (Allen-Collinson 2013). The subjectivist sensitivities of evocative autoethnographers like Ellis and Bochner unequivocally reject the opportunity to generalize from experiences. They
    “…bypass the representational problem by invoking an epistemology of emotion, moving the reader to feel the feelings of the other.” (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, p. 744).
    Whereas acting as an analytical autoethnographer, I could and wanted to use empirical data in gaining insight into broader social phenomenon, political structures and processes. A crucial feature of which is the writers’ commitment to theoretical analysis (Anderson 2006). Therefore either, or both, positions could be considered suitable for this autoethnography.
    As the study progressed, the process of looking through multiple lenses enriched and deepened the ways I considered I could use my voice in telling my story and that of other adoptees and adoptive mothers. Increasingly, I was able to drawn upon an epistemology of emotion as well as make meaning from adoptive family life events through the lens of a combined conceptual framework taken from four theories.
    Mason’s (2008) ideas of tangible affinities was central to my understanding of communication between kin. Furthermore, the interplay between the four dimensions of kinship affinity according to Mason, adoptive family themes (Galvin and Colaner 2014) and importantly concepts of given and made from anthropology (Carsten 2004), illustrated robust connections between evocative adoptive family interactions and key themes. And so…
    ‘..contributes to a spiralling refinement, elaboration, extension, and revision of theoretical understanding’ (Anderson, 2006, p. 388).
    Therefore the combined conceptual framework, has enabled a clear direction for my work and a lens through which exploration around adoptive kinship interactions can be undertaken. Furthermore, this conceptual framework could be transferable to the study of kinship more generally.
    Period13 Feb 201915 Feb 2019
    Event title3rd European Congress of Qualitative Enquiry, ‘Qualitative Inquiry as Activism’
    Event typeConference
    LocationEdinburgh , United KingdomShow on map


    • Autoethnography
    • Analytic
    • Evocative
    • Adoption