The 12th Annual Ethnography Symposium
University Of Manchester August 29-Sept 1.2017
Stream Call for Papers
(What’s New in) Visual Ethnography
Convenors: Harriet Shortt Un. of West of England; Garance Maréchal Un. of Liverpool; Samantha Warren Un. of Cardiff. Stephen Linstead Un. of York
In anthropological film icon Jean Rouch’s centenary year, we might well ask “what else is there left to say about visual ethnography?” Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin, his collaborator on Chronicle of a Summer (the origin of cinema verité), pioneered a form of film-making that intervened in the life it observed. But in the field of management and organization studies, despite a great deal of discussion of the visual, we have not yet seen a flood of published empirical work emerge - there are still only a handful of articles available. This is certainly the case with researcher/participant generated imagery such as photo-voice studies, for example. So our first invitation is to those researchers who are engaged in real, active projects – finished or unfinished - to talk about real, active projects and to share what’s happening empirically.
We also want to ask “What makes visual ethnography visual?” (as opposed to just ethnography with still or moving images). Is it a matter of sensibility? Is the visual just a variety of sensuous ethnography? Is the idea of only five senses culturally bounded? How do senses like sound and vision combine in different media? What is the relation of the expressive power of the image to embodiment and affect? Can we “think” or theorise visually (Sinnerbrink 2011)? As JWT Mitchell (2007) provocatively tells us “there are no visual media” because it is a myth that it is only the eye that sees. Film philosophy following Bergson (1911) and Deleuze (1986,1989) has argued that visual understanding is cinematic, and this promotes the generation of a new kind of ethical relation – what Rob Sinnerbrink (2015) calls cinempathy – in which simultaneously seeing and feeling has moral consequences. Images and image sequences may reaffirm and/or resist dominant narratives, expose ideologies, and trigger the senses, engaging the violence, intensities, textures and rhythms of sensation. We are not merely disengaged producers and witnesses of these images, but are drawn into them and act as a result of them. Images both reveal and conceal, they also have political significance – they rarely only act as sources of evidence enabling the creation of documents accessing the ‘truth’ of social and organisational life. They can, for instance, to render visible the ‘invisibility’ of below the line production workers and other concealed labour within contemporary capitalist organisations. Is management and organization up to speed? What’s next?
Is visual ethnography defined by its use of augmented visual technologies? Carey Jewitt, Bella Dicks and Theo Van Leeuwen have argued for multimodal theorising (https://mode.ioe.ac.uk/). What role does the visual play when we have GPS tracking, GoPro POV cameras (see Noah Baumbach’s 2014 feature film While We’re Young for a fascinating take on the ethics involved), the ability to film and photograph through pens and spectacles and phones? We’re interested in the use of new forms of visual technology and digital media as method but also as a way of relating to lives and communities and new visually literate cultures of what Gregory Ulmer (2004) called videocy – forming and communicating through media such as Snapchat and instagram (that will probably be outdated by the time you read this!). There’s already a Selfies Research Network http://www.selfieresearchers.com/. Do new forms of visually-enabled ethnography contribute to or contest the fetishisation of research practice? Are they more democratic and participatory? Do we know how to relate to others through technology rather than with (or even despite) technology?
Turning the lens back on ourselves - and our problematic role as authors or producers of images, much visual research implicitly or explicitly perpetuates a realist ontology but how does it relate to the textual and non-representational turn in anthropology since the 80s? Or John Mullarkey’s (2009) argument that film refracts rather than reflects reality? Have we properly digested sophisticated approaches like those of Roland Barthes (1981) and Victor Burgin to analyse the images we and others produce, and the contexts of their production and consumption? How can a richer visual language be developed in organizational ethnography that isn’t just reproductive of the real but is also critical in rendering ‘visible’ key aspects of organizational life? What does this mean for our outputs in terms of narrative – as a means of creative non-fiction? Is it a matter of cultural performance, as Norm Denzin (2003) or Dwight Conquergood (2013) would advocate? If so, in what sense is image always political? How does visual authorship differ from textual authorship?
We will have facilities to show short films, stage exhibitions or include participative workshops as well as more traditional paper presentations. We invite any type of imaginative contribution that will help us to push back or even dissolve the boundaries of the understanding and practice of visual ethnography in the contested terrain of management and organization.
Barthes, R.(1981) Camera Lucida New York: Hill and Wang
Bergson, H. ((1998 ).Creative Evolution, tr.,Arthur Mitchell, New York NY: Dover
Burgin, V. (1982) Thinking Photography, Victor Burgin (ed.), [Burgin: Introduction, three essays, bibliography], London:Macmillan Press Ltd.
Conquergood, D. (2013) Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Deleuze, G. (1986), Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (trs.), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Deleuze, G. (1989), Cinema 2: The Time-Image, Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (trs.), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Denzin, N. K. (2003) Performance Ethnography: Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture London: Sage
Mitchell, J.W.T. (2007). There are no visual media, in Grau, O. (ed.), Media Art Histories. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 395–406.
Mullarkey, J. (2009) Refractions of Reality: Philosophy and the Moving Image, Palgrave Macmillan,
Rouch, Jean. (2003) Ciné-Ethnography, edited and translated by Steven Feld. University of Minnesota Press,
Sinnerbrink, R. (2011) New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images London: Continuum
Sinnerbrink, R. (2015) Cinematic Ethics: Exploring Ethical Experience through Film ondon Routledge
Ulmer, G. (2004) Teletheory : Grammatology in the Age of Video New York: Atropos Press; 2nd ed.
Please submit a 500 word abstract or proposal by Tuesday 28th February 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Decisions on acceptance will be made by 30th March 2017.
The Annual Ethnography Symposium is a leading international forum for debate and dialogue on the theory, practice, and form of ethnographic work. It was established in 2005 at the University of Liverpool as a multi- and inter-disciplinary platform for researchers using ethnographic methods in the social and management sciences In this time it has established an international reputation for attracting the best keynotes and papers from across the world, covering disciplines as diverse as anthropology, business and management, criminology, history, health-care, philosophy, psychology, socio-legal studies, social care, and sociology. It is unique in its commitment to cross-disciplinary dialogue and its reputation also lies in providing friendly, supportive, yet rigorous critique on papers, integrating and supporting doctoral students, and opening up a wider network of cross-disciplinary scholars to those employing ethnographic methods.
In 2017 the symposium takes as its theme the question of politics and ethnography in “an age of uncertainty” and is hosted at the University of Manchester. In bringing the 2017 annual ethnography symposium to the University of Manchester we hope to take inspiration from the first industrialised city and all the tensions and contradictions that have made politics so lively in this city. From the Peterloo massacre to the mass trespass, the suffrage movement and the founding of the Trade Union Congress, Manchester has been a hotbed of protest, resistance, and revolution. Beyond these obvious manifestations of politics, we might say politics gets made first - or at least reinvented - in Manchester! The site where the atom was first made ‘nuclear’, and where the 1980s acid house rave culture forced us to re-think the boundaries of politics as it expanded our imagination about possible new ways of being, the energies in Manchester are never very far from politics. Feeding off some of these energies is the University of Manchester. Founded in 1824 as the Mechanics Institute, it became England’s first civic university and since then has changed lives around the world; it was here that Rutherford split the atom and Chadwick discovered the neutron, where Alan Turing built the first self-contained computer, and where graphene was discovered by Nobel prize winning scientists Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov.The University also has a proud heritage of cross-disciplinary ethnographic research, following the founding of the Manchester School Social Anthropology by Max Gluckman in 1947.
We invite you to join us in Manchester for the 12th International Ethnography Symposium. For the first time the conference is hosting a series of specialist streams that address the theme of politics from a variety of perspectives and disciplines see http://www.confercare.manchester.ac.uk/ ... hnography/ where further information, registration, travel and accommodation details can also be found.
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