Visual Sociology (SO234)
Convenor: Phil Mizen
Room Number: R2.31
Module Code: SO234
This module considers the production and interpretation of visual materials sociologically. By offering students the opportunity to understand the role of the visual in the constitution of social life, the module addresses the development of sociological theory and analysis, the design and practice of social research, and issues of substantive knowledge and social inquiry.
Central to the module is the production and display of photographic images; relating these images to wider sociological questions and methods of investigation; and evaluating their status, value and efficacy as sources of data or evidence. To meet these objectives the module will introduce students to existing sociological studies that have used photography as part of their methodology and will consider existing studies of the roles of photography within social life. It will also provide opportunities for students to gain experience in interpreting photographs sociologically, including the use of the photographic archives of the Modern Records Centre.
The module emphasises the production of visual material and students will therefore be expected to routinely produce and display photographs and to present and discuss their images with other students. These photographs will form the basis of class assignments and some of the assessed work. No previous experience of photography is necessary and students will be given access to the relevant equipment and software.
There is no unseen examination for this module, and it is exempt from the 50/50 rule regarding the balance between unseen examinations and assessed work.
Students must produce three pieces of assessed work: (a) a 1500 word essay analysing a photograph selected by the student; (b) a 2000 word report of an interview using photographs; (c) a final project of 3000 words.
M. Banks (2001) Visual Methods in Social Research, London, Sage.
P. Holland (1991) Family Snaps: The Meaning of Domestic Photography, London, Virago
S. Pink (2001) Doing Visual Ethnography, London: Sage
J. Prosser (1998), Image-Based Research: A Source Book for Qualitative Researchers, London: RoutledgeFalmer
L. Wells (eds) (2002) The Photography Reader, London: Routledge
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