Metaphors we experiment with in multimodal ethnography

Varvantakis, Christos and Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa. 2019. Metaphors we experiment with in multimodal ethnography. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 22(4), pp. 365-378. ISSN 1364-5579 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper, we argue for a view of analysis in multimodal ethnography as an embodied practice in which metaphors play a key role. We illustrate this claim through in-depth analysis of our own multimodal ethnographic experiences on an international study looking at the relationship between childhood and public life with children in middle childhood. Our analysis focuses on the experiences and emergent metaphors that shaped our practice during the first 18 months of fieldwork. During this time children’s play became central in our understanding of children’s communicative practices and their engagement with what moves and matters for them; play was also instructive in our own formation as multimodal ethnographers. We provide examples of the ways in which children recruited us into their play, the ways in which play taught us about what matters to children, and finally, how we took play into our own analytical practices.

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Additional Information:

The research was funded by the European Research Council Starting Grant (ERC-StG-335514) to Sevasti-Melissa Nolas.


multimodal ethnography, embodiment, metaphors, sense-making, visual, everyday life, childhood.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


23 January 2019Accepted
18 February 2019Published Online

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Date Deposited:

09 Jan 2019 13:40

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 12:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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