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CeMoRe Seminar : Children, cameras, school journeys
Date: 29 April 2008 Time: 4.15pm
CeMoRe Seminar - IAS Meeting Room 1 - 4.15 - 6.00pm
Kim Kullman, Dept of Sociology, University of Helsinki
Children, cameras, school journeys
Kim Kullman, Department of Sociology, University of Helsinki
Visiting PhD Student, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University
As George Marcus (1995) points out in his essay on 'multi-sited ethnography', sometimes the 'field' is better grasped through the associations made during the research process, rather than being a pre-given entity. This is especially true of the school journey, which, in most cases, is composed of a shifting ensemble of children, parents, technologies of mobility and a wide variety of public and private spaces. Drawing from a visual ethnography on children's school journeys in Helsinki, my presentation attempts to deal with these heterogeneous and emergent qualities of mobile fieldwork by tracing the movements of two elements that were constitutive of the field relations and their sociality - a digital camera and camcorder.
More specifically, I explore, first, how the circulating cameras perform situated relations between the humans, things and spaces that make up the school journey, raising questions about how to best engage as an ethnographer with this shifting setting. Second, I open up the disruptive potential of field relations by discussing how the circulating cameras allow the participants to perform disconnections with the field, questioning the positions the research proposes to them. I will show that this disordering can actually be inventive, as it points to alternative spaces of research engagement. Third, seeking a middle ground between the connections and disconnections of fieldwork, I discuss spaces of 'partial separation' (Lee 2005), where the participants have the possibility to withdraw momentarily from research relations and renegotiate their participation. This, as I will suggest, is essential for developing a 'mobile ethics' (Lee 2001) that is sensitive to the situated economy of closeness and distance, relatedness and self-possession involved in mobile fieldwork.
There will be drinks in Bowland bar after the seminar.
Who can attend: Anyone
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