The Possibilities and Limitations of the Use of Visual (and Other Sensory) Research Outputs to Try to Re-Frame Public Debate

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:30-19:20
RC57 Visual Sociology (host committee)

Language: Spanish and English

Many researchers are concerned that their research should interrogate and re-frame public debate. As such, their work overlaps with that of artists and activists. Often the focus is on telling ‘untold’ stories, on preserving (counter) memories, on highlighting alternative interpretations of (historical) narratives (of communities, social classes, sexual minorities) and on imagining alternative futures. Gordon (2008) argues for research presentations that go beyond representation to evoke ‘complex personhood, produce an affective response or a ‘haunting’ that does not accept that present difficulties are fixed or insuperable.

This session will focus on the techniques, approaches and contexts through which visual presentations of research including photographs and film (whether documentary or fiction), can contribute to Gordon’s aims. For example, Baer (2005) and Pennell (2016) argue that photographic stills (including in film) can slow time, unsettle the distance between the viewer’s present and the past, disrupting conceptions of historical inevitability or assumptions of passivity or of deserved fate.

The session invites critical contributions on aspects of these themes, including:

-        techniques employed to increase ‘affect’ and engage the viewer;

-        intersections between such presentations of research, and art/fiction including tensions with academic concerns for representativeness and ethics;

-        the possibilities and limitations of such work in contexts where there is little social/political will to entertain alternative perspectives;

-         the use of different spaces of presentation to produce an affective response and experiences of presenting/performing such outputs in non-academic spaces, including online.

-        thoughts on how such affective responses can be examined sociologically.

Session Organizers:
Sarah WILSON, School of Social Sciences, University of Stirling, United Kingdom, Syd KROCHMALNY, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Ruthie GINSBURG, Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Syd KROCHMALNY, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sarah WILSON, School of Social Sciences, University of Stirling, United Kingdom
Oral Presentations
The Pedagogy of Installation: Engaging a Public with Distasteful Learning
Maureen MICHAEL, University of Stirling, United Kingdom
“Affecting” Change through Participants’ Images of Their Settlement Experience in a Small Canadian City
Choon Lee CHAI, Red Deer College, Canada; Liza MCCOY, University of Calgary, Canada; Tabitha PHIRI, Central Alberta Immigrant Women's Association, Canada
Distributed Papers
See more of: RC57 Visual Sociology
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