We’ve been framed: visualising methodology1

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Abstract

This paper explores the reasons why video, and other visual representations have been largely ignored in sociology, whilst the possibilities of video as an empirical source have been sidelined by cultural studies. Discussions of methodology have raised doubts about notions such as objectivity and scientific knowledge, and about the power relationships involved in the research and writing processes, and techniques that one might employ in order to avoid such problems have been suggested. Yet the aims of such techniques are misguided if they serve only to further legitimate the ‘truth’ of the research itself. In this context I explore some of the possibilities of visual methods, such as video and photography, whilst also examining some of the ethical issues raised by them. In this respect, the paper explores the notion of a ‘queer methodology’. This approach is indebted to the legacy of its predecessor, feminist methodology, but departs from this in several important ways. I will explore these differences and examine the possibility that a place for the visual within sociology is an inherently queer conception.

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