Autoethnography through the Prism of Foucault’s Care of the Self

Tomkins, Leah (2020). Autoethnography through the Prism of Foucault’s Care of the Self. In: Herrmann, Andrew ed. The Routledge Handbook of Organizational Autoethnography. Routledge.

URL: https://www-taylorfrancis-com.libezproxy.open.ac.u...

Abstract

In this chapter, I reflect on the self of autoethnographic inquiry through the prism of care, in particular, Foucault’s reworking of the notion of the care of the self from ancient Greek philosophy. Through this prism, the self of inquiry is constituted through rigorous self-scrutiny and attempts at self-mastery, and intimately concerned with tensions between engagement and disengagement - between work and ‘time-out’ from work. The themes I explore include: relations between leaders and stakeholders; the complexities of expertise and ‘best practice’; and confessional writing as something which might look and feel self-promoting, but instead be self-renouncing. I hope this chapter will serve as an invitation to consider Foucauldian ideas - and their classical origins - to help to frame and interrogate what we are doing with self-disclosure and the processes of reflection that underpin it.

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