process of trying to narrate one’s
own voice—a voice coming from within, from one’s soul. It is the process of
making that voice available to others who are interested in viewing the world
from a different perspective and through a different lens.
The idea of the
individual/self-identity, perhaps, is the most basic unit of culture. This also
brings to the forefront the definition of culture that I will be using, which
is Geertz’s (1973) classical definition of culture. Geertz defines culture as
“historically transmitted patterns embodied in symbols, a system of inherited
conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which people communicate,
perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life” (p.
Freeman (1997) theorizes that narratives do not reflect a culture but, rather,
constitute a culture. Other narrative theorists agree that the “cultural self”
emerges from memory reconstructions (Nelson, 2004, p. 87). Thus, I agree that
narratives about the self are culturally and discursively situated and that it
is this situatedness, as Feldman (2001) has emphasized, that ensures that we do
not fall prey to a kind of autobiographical autism. Simply put, “‘my story’ can
never be wholly mine, alone, because I define and articulate my existence with
and among others” (Freeman, 2001, p. 287).
In other words, my narratives are
not all about me, the narrator, but involve other people who play a role in my
lived experiences. Within the autobiography I explain how this process helps me
navigate the space between my individual experience and my culture(s). The
narrative analysis process as the mechanism of learning is included within each
narrative, and I consider the entire process transformative for me and for
others who read them. Each narrative shows the tie between intercultural
learning experiences and how they contribute to a learning process that is
further facilitated through the methodology/process of autoethnography.