The author develops a dialectical conception of happiness—a suffering happiness—that can clarify autoethnography's existential convictions and ethical commitments. Autoethnography should produce an ethical connection to the other's suffering, a desire to transform the material conditions of the other's heartbreaking circumstances, increasing the possibility of happiness and a good life. The question of how we can make life better is the basic issue at the core of autoethnography. Rather than accepting a decontextualized and affective conception of happiness, we need to understand happiness as inextricably tied to narrative and moral judgments about the goodness of a whole life. The narratives we make in autoethnography ought to invite and encourage a responsiveness to the other and a responsibility for the other.
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