Photography, Politics and Childhood: Exploring children’s multimodal relations with the public sphere

Varvantakis, Christos; Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa and Aruldoss, Vinnarasan. 2019. Photography, Politics and Childhood: Exploring children’s multimodal relations with the public sphere. Visual Studies, 34(3), pp. 266-280. ISSN 1472-586X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In qualitative research with children visually oriented and multimodal approaches are identified in the literature as more appropriate for approaching children’s meanings and feelings often deemed to lie beyond the realm of language. In our own research, a comparative ethnography which enquired into the relationships between childhood and public life, with six-to-eight year olds in three cities (Athens, Hyderabad and London), we have reflexively experimented with the employment and remixing of methodologies which would allow us to explore such relationships. In the process of our research, incorporating different visual and ethnographic methods, we have developed a data collection and production process, an adaptation of the photo-story, which allows for a multimodal, processual and reflective enquiry into children’s relationships of concern and politics of care. We review the central visual methods in research with children, we then proceed to provide a documentation of the method, its development and its rationale. Consequently, we provide some examples of the photostory method’s implementation in the Connectors Study together with a discussion of the production processes of the photo-stories themselves and our readings of them. We conclude with a section with reflections on the method, which, we argue provides a departure point from which we may rethink the political in childhood, as well as the ways in which photography is employed as a research method in the social sciences.

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Additional Information:

Research for this paper was funded by ERC [ERC-StG -335514] to Dr. Sevasti-Melissa Nolas.


Childhood, Public Life, Methodology, Photo-story, Multimodal Ethnography

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology > Centre for Visual Anthropology (CVA)
Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Visual Cultures


5 November 2019Accepted
18 November 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2019 15:21

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2021 01:33

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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