Interrelation between biography and ethnography: cultural analysis as an experimental system


  • Sumathi Srinivasalu University of Madras, India.
  • Manjubarkavi Selladurai University of Madras, India.
  • Muniraj Mathaiyan University of Madras, India.



Ethnographic. Biographic, Cultural analysis, Indian tribal community, Performance and identity crisis


The interrelationship between ethnography and biographic studies has recently become a popular form of qualitative research. The current discourse on this field of investigation refers exclusively to “evocative autoethnography” that draws upon postmodern sensibilities, whose advocates distance themselves from realist and analytic ethnographic traditions. The dominance of evocative autoethnography and biographic has obscured recognition of the compatibility of autoethnographic investigation with more traditional ethnographic practices. Similarly, the modes of cultural analysis also have been systematically revised over a period, changing its variables that took on new cultural projection. The revision of the 1980’s included new approaches, using ethnography to investigate the changing nature of cultural and social forms. At the end of the twentieth century, inquiries drawn towards multidisciplinary tools that could be employed in making cultural analysis more trenchant and revealing. The most widely applied approach by anthropologists in development projects is the ethnographic approach, which investigates the changing nature of culture and applies qualitative/narrative analysis. The challenge for culture change, according to the anthropologist, is to understand the “everyday” form of thinking, expression, verbalization and comprehension. This paper tries to substantiate that performance of expressions are drawn from “cultural schemas”, and such community expression serves to explain more recent community ethnographic transformations. The paper also justifies the voices and expression of community performance as a ritual which has been empirically validated with the appreciation of community-level transformation/adaptation which can perceive to enhance universal ethnographic. The paper justifies the argument through a case study on a tribal-community in India, their voices of expression and the sacred/clandestine sexuality performance which has been incorporated within the public ethnography in order to prove their identity as a “tribe”, compromising their sacred value privacy.


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Biografia do Autor

Sumathi Srinivasalu, University of Madras, India.

Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.), Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India. Professor & Head, Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India. Trained anthropologist, Teaching at the Masters level (two decades), Research guidance (M.A, M.Phil, & Ph.D), Involving in International, National and Regional level projects (Applied& Action research). Evolved as an ‘expert’ and recognised at the International, National, State level both as an academician as well as in policy prediction. Recipient of International Fellowships (Fulbright, DAAD, Charles Wallace).

Manjubarkavi Selladurai, University of Madras, India.

Pursuing Ph.D. in Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India. Research Scholar, Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India. Empirically trying to understand the culture of various indigenous communities and assessing the process of development, policies and livelihoods of vulnerable communities. Trained anthropologist specialised in social science research, utilizing ethnographic approach and qualitative research.

Muniraj Mathaiyan, University of Madras, India.

Pursuing Ph.D. in Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India. Research Scholar, Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India. Trained Anthropologist explored the empirical research through intensive fieldwork. Contributed report writing for various projects funded by Government, Non Government and other agencies.


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Como Citar

SRINIVASALU, S.; SELLADURAI, M.; MATHAIYAN, M. Interrelation between biography and ethnography: cultural analysis as an experimental system. Revista Brasileira de Pesquisa (Auto)biográfica, [S. l.], v. 4, n. 12, p. 918–936, 2019. DOI: 10.31892/rbpab2525-426X.2019.v4.n12.p918-936. Disponível em: Acesso em: 21 jun. 2024.