“Autobiography” derives from the Greek terms autos (self), bios (life), and graphein (writing), and is most commonly understood as a cultural text in which a person represents their own life. The practice has long been associated with the written word: well-known, published books in which significant people record their remarkable lives. Traditionally, autobiography has been characterized by so-called “great men,” usually white and European, recounting their lives as they approach their later years. However, cultural change in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries—particularly second-wave feminism, decolonization, globalization, the rise of technology, and mass and digital media—have changed “self-life-writing” radically. The development of alternative types of first-person and life storying, including memoir, documentary, reality television, blogs, vlogs, and diverse and ever-emerging forms of social media (e.g., YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok), has consistently brought new voices and subjects into the public sphere. Life narration, in its various forms, has become a diverse, global genre. It is now steeped in the various written and oral traditions in which people have told stories about their lives for thousands of years and across myriad locations.
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
- life narrative
- life writing