Contemporary Greek Myths: Visual Resources for Self-Transformation

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 417
Oral Presentation
E-J MILNE , School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Stirling, Scotland
Sarah WILSON , School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom
This paper focuses on the use of visual media, including music videos, television programmes and films, by young people living in kinship, foster, residential and secure care in Scotland. It draws on a two-year exploration of practices of belonging that employed audial and visual methods (photo elicitation around spaces and objects; drawings of actual and ideal ‘homes’; recordings of sounds including music tracks then discussed in two interviews). The data produced suggested the great importance of such visual media to participants in both blanking out and exploring difficult relational legacies and current circumstances. In particular, like contemporary Greek myths, television shows and music videos often portrayed difficult family situations similar to their own including parental separation, police raids, the absence or loss of a parent. Such representations and their use by participants point to a complex interweaving of absences and presences cross-cutting the private and public spheres, (and often reflected and reproduced by academic disciplines). In spite of living in a somewhat ‘confessional’ culture, prevailing normative family discourses generally discourage these young people from open discussion of such family circumstances.  At the same time, the semi-public nature of these young people’s family lives is reflected in often voluminous case files, and the static histories they contain, repeated many times over at case hearings. Further such circumstances are often used as exemplars of dysfunctional/‘troubled’ families in stigmatising public, political discourses that divert attention from the structural inequalities that often underlie them. We argue that such visual media help to provide such young people with more fluid, more culturally accepted and semi-public representations of their experience and potentially provide them with resources for self-valorisation and transformation.