This story explores searching—spiritual and professional—in myself and through the experiences shared by those inhabiting a series of ashrams in India. The narrator of the story is the fictionalized Maya Blair, a graduate student conducting ethnographic research for her dissertation. In this narrative, Maya negotiates the performance of spiritual living and the tensions between researcher, ashramite, and researcher as ashramite. The spiritual concepts discussed, exchanges with the ashrams’ gurus, and accounts of ashram life are based on autoethnographic fieldnotes I compiled while living in these spiritual communities during a six-month sabbatical.
Searching for the Divine: Autoethnographic Reflections on Ashram Life
Georgine Hodgkinson is Professor of Communication Studies at Cosumnes River College. She received her MA in Rhetoric and Public Communication from California State University, Sacramento. During the past five presidential election cycles, she has been a member of UVote, a national election research team focused on developing political programs and messages designed to enhance the interest and participation of young voters. In addition to research in the area of political communication, her scholarship and writing includes ethnographic and performative essays that explore gender and spirituality.
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Georgine Hodgkinson; Searching for the Divine: Autoethnographic Reflections on Ashram Life. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 December 2014; 3 (4): 389–417. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2014.3.4.389
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