Chapter 1 : Researcher Positioning as Embodied Experience

Abstract

This chapter introduces critical autoethnography as a research methodology and maps how storytellers and audiences struggle together to co-create identity, meaning and reality through the performing personal narratives in interpersonal interactions, creative nonfiction writing, and staged performances. Drawing upon theories of performance, phenomenology, and disability studies, the author tells personal stories of living through a body marked as ‘disabled’ to reveal storytelling performance as visceral (embodied and emotional), collaborative (inescapably shared), and susceptible (discursive, forever open to revision and reinterpretation). Storytelling offers a means to overcome personal and cultural fears that compel us to stigmatize and reject bodies that remind us of our own inescapable physical and social vulnerability, opening spaces to pursue connection, empathy, and social justice.