Automethodology: Tracing a Home for Praxis-Oriented Ethnography

  • Sandra L. Pensoneau-Conway Wayne State University
  • Satoshi Toyosaki Southern Illinois University Carbondale


The authors trace the development of ethnographic practices according to the methodological assumptions of ethnographers within different historical periods. As communication scholars, the authors find Calvin O. Schrag’s conceptualization of the self to be informative and advantageous for navigating an ethnographic sense of ‘self’ in the current status of the methodological contestation. Borrowing from Schrag’s work, which focuses on communicative praxis in understanding the self, this article explores an innovative methodological framework called automethodology. By examining the deployment and emplotment of the self within the automethods of autobiography, autoethnography, narrative co-construction, community autoethnography, critical complete-member ethnography, reflexive ethnography, autoperformance, and layered account, the authors develop epistemological foundations for praxis-oriented ethnographers. Throughout this journey, the authors end up situating themselves in a place they consider home—in the practices of automethodology.

Author Biographies

Sandra L. Pensoneau-Conway, Wayne State University
Sandra L. Pensoneau-Conway is an Assistant Professor and Introductory Course Director in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University. Her research and teaching interests include Critical Communication Pedagogy, Qualitative Research Methods, and Intercultural Communication.
Satoshi Toyosaki, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Satoshi Toyosaki is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His research and teaching interests include Intercultural Communication, Qualitative Research Methods, and Critical Communication Pedagogy.