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Only short cuts?: Some questions of reflexivity raised in a visual ethnography project on mens hairstyles
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Education.
2008 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Visual Culture has opened for new kinds of analyses and new interesting ways of doing and presenting research. Photos and videotaping have made research possible in situations, which by their fluidity earlier have been problematic to describe and analyse with ethnographic field notes. This presentation, theoretical inspired by post structuralism, Discourse Theory, Visual Cultural and the discussion of reflexivity, takes its point of departure in a visual studies based project on fashion, consumption and mens hairstyles. The material used in the project consists of digital photos taken by me of male customers in hairdressers salons and of men in public places in Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Turkey and visual analyses of images presented in Hairstyle Magazines and Mens Magazines. This material has made it possible to describe and also visually present and concrete exemplify how masculinity and femininity and social orders as class, ethnicity, nationality, age and sexuality are made, materialised and visualised in hairdressing. Although the combinations of different kinds of visual material have been fruitful, some important methodological questions have caught my attention: What kind of stories are for example constructed and stabilised by the researchers theoretical assumptions, by the selection of images and by how the images are presented by the researcher? How does the theoretical assumptions structure the framing and selection of motives when researchers use digital cameras? What is selected and focused and what are excluded when researchers take photos with digital cameras? While studies of visual culture often is directed at critical examining the meanings produced by images, the performativity and the meaning constructed in the presentation by the researchers way of constructing, selecting, analysing and presenting the material is seldom discussed in the same critical way. The methodological questions I want to address in the presentation are: What kind of reflexivity and critical discussions is needed when doing and presenting visual analyses? Do other critical aspects have to be addressed in Visual Culture then in studies where the empirical base consists of documents, written texts and language? And is there some way that the researcher as a constructor of images can be visualised in a visual presentation?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Visual Culture, reflexivity, method, masculinity, hair dressing, performativity
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-22118OAI: diva2:595794
Presentation på konferensen First ISA Forum of Sociology, Barcelona, Spain, September 5-8, 2008
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2013-01-21

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Nordberg, Marie
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