Tensions in managing the online network development of autoethnographers

A four-way dialogue





autoethnography, autoethnography groups, online autoethnography networking, autoethnogapher mentoring, autoethnographer development


Although literature exists on the methodological development of autoethnographers in the classroom context, little has been written about achieving such development in online networks of dispersed individuals, and the social psychological difficulties between senior members of such networks that might ensue. This conversational autoethnography developed after Alec Grant, the first author, angrily withdrew by email from the South Coast Autoethnography Network (SCAN). Since its inception in 2013, the hub, or centre of operating activity of SCAN has historically been mostly shared between a small number of academics working in, or associated with, Sussex University and the University of Brighton in the south coast of England. With around 65 participants, SCAN aims to facilitate the development of autoethnographers, with many of its members inexperienced in the approach to differing degrees. In their conversational exchange, the authors explore, respond to, and try to make sense of and resolve, the tensions that developed in the group before and after Alec’s withdrawal from it. The authors believe that this article captures many of the interpersonal difficulties that might inevitably arise between senior members, in autoethnographic networks internationally. They therefore hope that it will serve as a useful resource for individual readers and network groups.

Author Biographies

Alec Grant, Visiting Professor, University of Bolton

Alec Grant, PhD, is a Visiting Professor at the University of Bolton. He was the winner of the International Conference of Autoethnography 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award for services to autoethnography

Jamie Barnes, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Sussex

Jamie Barnes is a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sussex. His current research focuses on the intersection of spiritual embodiment and ecology.

Trude Klevan, Associate Professor of Mental Health, University of South-Eastern Norway

Trude Klevan is Associate Professor of Mental Health at the University of South-Eastern Norway. She is educated as a social worker and has long-standing clinical experience from child welfare services and mental health.

Ali Donaldson, Independent Writer

Ali Donaldson has worked as a writer, researcher and writing coach (www.writinginorganisations.uk) and holds a Doctor of Management from the University of Hertfordshire. For many years she has been exploring the subject of human relations through creative non-fiction and free flowing conversations.


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How to Cite

Grant, A., Barnes, J., Klevan, T., & Donaldson, A. (2022). Tensions in managing the online network development of autoethnographers: A four-way dialogue. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 23(2), 53-71. https://doi.org/10.1921/swssr.v23i2.2083