This post is in the Autoethnography category

Dear Reader

I suspect that obsession is a necessary evil in PhD territory – surely no-one would attempt to spend several years looking at some narrowly defined topic without a touch of it. In autoethnography, obsession brings with it the risk of insular regression, navel-gazing and egoistic fascination that students and supervisors need to be aware of and guard against. The challenge to avoid “unreflective use of personal account”  (Atkinson & Delamont, 2006), to play the game properly and position the narrative against theory should be a foil to the obsession, a cognitive, conscious objectivity – but it is not. Unfortunately obsessive tendencies are a definable characteristic of Asperger’s Syndrome and the broader autistic phenotypes (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 1999, p. 484; Soderstrom, Rastam & Gillberg, 2002, p. 297) so the situation can / does get out of hand. Every aspect of every thought is now linked to The Research. “Did I say that, do that, think that, miss that, screw that up, make that choice, hear that detail, have that insight, because I have autistic traits? What of my past – the history that made me? How much of that is defined by this new Name? How much control did I really have then – do I really have now? How is that different to someone else?” In fact the crux of the issue is this last question, the relationship between Self and Other.

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