Visual Sociology

The development of visual sociology occurred decades after the birth of sociology, although the visual dimension is inherent to any type of sociological investigation. Observational sociological field research has a visual component without which awareness of the empirical reality being studied would be severely limited. Accordingly, the belated attention paid to the visual aspects of scientific knowledge applied to human societies seems contradictory.

This entry provides an account of the development of visual practice in field research, noting the contributions of key figures; describes its various forms and methodologies and the practical considerations certain techniques entail; and discusses the ways in which the application of visual methods has allowed researchers to gather information not otherwise accessible, particularly in the case of informants’ experience of religion and ...

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