The Stereoscopic Eye

Inessential views of art and photography.

Notes on the visual and social inquiry

This post is an introduction to visual methods of research for social sciences. It comes from the sister blog “Visual Sociology”, which was part of an optional module for 3rd year students of Sociology and Politics at National University of Ireland, Galway.

Visual Sociology NUIG

In 2005, Douglas Harper argued for an Integrative Visual Sociology, which enables an empathetic understanding of sociological questions, as opposed to a more pattern-analysis-based, macro conceptualization of sociological questions. The main features of this new approach are:

  • Work with traditional assumptions and practices of sociological fieldwork and analysis
  • Photographic work led by theory. The exploration of a sociological idea underlies the visual work. The visual work and the sociological idea are in dialogue through a constant reflection on how the sociological idea can be better explored.
  • Reflection and appropriation of visual strategies typical of popular communication forms such as advertising. Photo-montage and photo-collage are outlined as powerful tools for reflection.

The rise of Integrative Visual Sociology comes from a post-modern understanding of sociology, whereby truth is conceptualized as always partial and photographs are always an interpretation, which is subjected to change. A new focus is set on the relationships between researchers and participants…

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2015 by in Events and tagged , , , , , .

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