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Visual Interventions

Visual Interventions: Applied Visual Anthropology

Edited by Sarah Pink
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 338
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  • Book Info
    Visual Interventions
    Book Description:

    Visual anthropology has proved to offer fruitful methods of research and representation to applied projects of social intervention. Through a series of case studies based on applied visual anthropological work in a range of contexts (health and medicine, tourism and heritage, social development, conflict and disaster relief, community filmmaking and empowerment, and industry) this volume examines both the range contexts in which applied visual anthropology is engaged, and the methodological and theoretical issues it raises.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-580-2
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-ix)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. x-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Part I Introduction

    • Chapter 1 Applied Visual Anthropology: Social Intervention and Visual Methodologies
      (pp. 3-28)
      Sarah Pink

      Visual Interventionsexamines the practices and value of an applied visual anthropology. It presents a series of detailed case studies, the authors of each recognize the potential of visual anthropology theoretically, methodologically and ethnographically to participate in projects of social intervention. Together they create a powerful argument for an applied visual anthropology. They bring into the public domain examples from across Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia that demonstrate how anthropologically informed visual practices – which variously involve developing visual representations informed by anthropological theory, the analysis of visual aspects of culture, and the use of visual ethnographic research methods...

    • Chapter 2 The Applied Visual Anthropology of John Collier: A Photo Essay
      (pp. 29-50)
      Malcolm Collier

      John Collier Jr is best known within anthropology and sociology as an early and tenacious advocate of visual anthropology, indeed he may have coined the term as part of the title of his 1967 book on the subject. This publication and an enlarged edition in 1986 have served to introduce many to the methodological possibilities of cameras, photographs, and photo elicitation (Collier 1967, Collier and Collier 1986). What may not be evident in those texts is that most of his own work was of an applied nature, most often with a focus on the cultural vitality of ethnic groups within...

  7. Part II Medicine and Health

    • Chapter 3 Combining the Applied, the Visual and the Medical: Patients Teaching Physicians with Visual Narratives
      (pp. 53-70)
      Richard Chalfen and Michael Rich

      Health research has always been a fruitful domain for visual methods, manifesting a mutual appreciation of the medical and the visual. In turn, applied anthropology has long-standing interests in health and medical issues (Chambers 1985; van Willigen 2002). The following chapter takes these relationships a few steps further by exploring the interface of visual, applied, media and medical anthropology. This ambitious integration represents a complicated terrain, necessitating a combination of many theoretical, practical and ethical considerations. The visual narratives project combines the production of visual material with an appropriate model of visual analysis coupled with a culturally sensitive mode of...

    • Chapter 4 Steps for the Future: HIV/AIDS, Media Activism and Applied Visual Anthropology in Southern Africa
      (pp. 71-90)
      Susan Levine

      It is ‘strange’ that people do not talk about a disease that is inscribed into the landscape through burial space shortages, in homes where basic hygiene needs for the ill puts enormous pressure on the ‘well’, and where billboards are saturated with messages about HIV/AIDS; it is a dangerous silence, so loaded with frustration and impotence that the spoken word cannot, for some, encompass the magnitude of fear that surrounds HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. Silence, often disguised as disbelief and interpreted as ignorance, is a widely accepted alternative to facing the consequences of disclosure.

      Nthombi, a central character fromA...

    • Chapter 5 Bodywork: Social Somatic Interventions in the Operating Theatres of Invasive Radiology
      (pp. 91-116)
      Christina Lammer

      In this chapter the mutual connectedness of bodies and imaging technologies is discussed in the biomedical context of interventional radiology – a process that renders the blood flow visible, thus enabling diagnosis and therapeutic treatment. During the course of my fieldwork in the radiology department at the Medical University Vienna (MUV), I spoke to fifteen radiologists and fifteen or so medical technical assistants about their professional backgrounds, their work, their daily routines, and their experiences with patients. I was primarily interested in how radiological personnel perceive and define ‘contact’ as it relates to their interaction with patients. Do they consider that...

  8. Part III Tourism and Heritage

    • Chapter 6 Look to Learn: A Role for Visual Ethnography in the Elimination of Poverty
      (pp. 119-142)
      Dianne Stadhams

      In my work as a tourism development consultant, I see many examples of well-intentioned but poor practice by consultants from the North working with communities in the South. Their reliance on the written word as an effective tool to collect and disseminate information that can improve socio economic conditions in countries with high levels of poverty, illiteracy and an oral culture is flawed.

      In this article I suggest that an interdisciplinary approach that combines visual anthropology with the social anthropology of tourism, film and television studies, and pro-poor development economics can produce a more effective communication model that is relevant...

    • Chapter 7 Archiving ‘Heritage’, Reconstructing the ‘Area’: Conducting Audiovisual Ethnography in EU-sponsored Research
      (pp. 143-170)
      Vassiliki Yiakoumaki

      In this chapter I discuss aspects of an ethnographic research project based on the use of audiovisual digital technologies, and realized in the framework of a European Commission Programme on Mediterranean ‘urban heritage’ in a number of cities across the Mediterranean between 2003 and 2006. As the principal project researcher for one of its thirteen partner-projects, i.e., for the city of Chania, Crete (Greece), I have been responsible for conducting long-term fieldwork based on the exclusive use of digital video and still photography to contribute to a number of audiovisual ethnographic products: a website which now functions as a database...

  9. Part IV Conflict and Disaster Relief

    • Chapter 8 Emergency Agents: A Birthing of Incipient Applied Visual Anthropology in the ‘Media Invisible’ Villages of Western India
      (pp. 173-190)
      Jayasinhji Jhala

      In 2001, Gujarat, India, suffered a terrible earthquake. This chapter examines insights that emerged from the use of visual anthropological field methodology and indigenous video innovation in this crisis. With an indigenous testimonial concept couched in the phrase,joyun ae janyu, (to see is to understand), and with visual anthropological methods of investigation, as well as evaluation tools that I call ‘the visual ethnography methods and technologies instrument.’ I examine the actions of several competing agencies in a belt of ‘media invisible’ desert villages in Jhalavad in Sauvrastra. These agencies include the central Government of India and its provincial and...

    • Chapter 9 The Hunters Redux: Participatory and Applied Visual Anthropology with the Botswana San
      (pp. 191-208)
      Matthew Durington

      In 1958 ethnographic film-maker and activist John Marshall releasedThe Hunters. Described by Marshall himself as ‘a romantic film made by an American kid’ (1993: 39), the film nevertheless became one of the first pieces of media taken seriously by the field of anthropology (Ruby 2000), becoming a staple in undergraduate courses to visually demonstrate hunter and gatherer culture. Depending upon one’s interpretation of the history of ethnographic film,The Hunterseither instigated or continued a legacy of aberrant and stereotypical readings of indigenous peoples in the genre (Martinez 1992). Despite the decades-long advocacy of countless individuals and other films,...

    • Chapter 10 Sharing Anthropology: Collaborative Video Experiences among Maya Film-makers in Post-war Guatemala
      (pp. 209-224)
      Carlos Y. Flores

      This paper deals with the role of indigenous video, shared anthropology and collaborative film-making among Mayan Q’eqchi’ communities in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. It analyses the subjective and historical conditions that provided the context for collaborative video production between local film-makers, communities and visual anthropologist and the implications these had both for the Q’eqchi’ and for my own anthropological practice. I argue that this community-based video project not only provided important ethnographic tools, but also new mechanisms for sociocultural reconstruction and awareness after an intensely traumatic and violent period of civil war. In this context, the video documents produced provided a...

  10. Part V Community Film-making and Empowerment

    • Chapter 11 The Rhythm of Our Dreams: A Proposal for an Applied Visual Anthropology
      (pp. 227-246)
      Ana Martínez Pérez

      The documentary videoThe Rhythm of Our Dreams(Al Compás de Los Sueños) was developed in Córdoba, Spain, in 2002. Above I quote Manoli, one of the film’s protagonists. Her words encapsulate how approaches from visual anthropology and social work in marginalized areas were combined in this project: we applied visual anthropology methods to represent the experienced realities of excluded people and their social workers. The project was requested by the local government Department of Youth, Women and Employment and the Association of Social Workers Encuentro en la Calle (Street Encounter), which has worked in the poorest areas in Córdoba...

    • Chapter 12 Performing Urban Collectivity: Ethnography of the Production Process of a Community-based Film Project in Brussels
      (pp. 247-270)
      An van. Dienderen

      This chapter offers an analysis of the process through which a community-based film project was developed. It is a study of a visual social intervention that emphasizes process as the subject of its analysis. I argue that researching processes rather than the final ‘text’ is of crucial importance in dealing with the way (cultural) identity and visual representation are intertwined (van. Dienderen 2003; 2004). To achieve this goal, I analyse the mediated interactions between the ‘author’, the ‘viewer’ and the ‘other’ in their plural and variable agencies during the preparatory phases of a community project in Brussels. Through this ethnography...

  11. Part VI Industry

    • Chapter 13 Video Ethnography under Industrial Constraints: Observational Techniques and Video Analysis
      (pp. 273-294)
      Werner Sperschneider

      This paper reports on how video is used in design studies to understand particular cultures of work. Ethnographers in the emerging field of design anthropology make extensive use of video to study how people interact with computers and other information technology devices. Many practitioners in design studies find that using video is an effective way to collect and analyse observational visual data to inform product development and design, and to use these findings to communicate with stakeholders. Video helps to invoke an understanding of how people really perform their duties at work, how information technologies in mechatronic products are used...

    • Chapter 14 Engaging Our Audience through Photo Stories
      (pp. 295-314)
      Tracey Lovejoy and Nelle Steele

      In trying to shape product development at Microsoft¹ – a fast moving international technology corporation headquartered in Redmond, WA, USA – we continually attempt to engage our target audiences 2 in new and distinctive ways. To this end, we recently utilized a new method of data delivery that, though not without its potential pitfalls, is promising both for what it could mean for developing design ideas together with our product team colleagues and for putting the visual at the foreground of doing anthropology in an applied setting.

      As ethnographers for Microsoft we conduct studies with many populations in an attempt to more...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 315-318)
  13. Index
    (pp. 319-324)