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Visual Methods in Social Research
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Visual Methods in Social Research

First Edition


224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
There has been an explosion of interest in visual culture - coming largely from work in sociology, anthropology and cultural studies and while there are a number of practical and technical manuals available for film, photographic and other visual media, there is a dearth of writing that combines both the practical and the technical. This book redresses this with a balanced approach that is written primarily for students in the social sciences who wish to use visual materials in the course of empirical, qualitative field research. It should also be of interest to experienced researchers who wish to expand their methodological approaches. Visual methods provides empirical approaches to both image creation and image analysis, drawing on a wide range of examples: from research conducted on Egyptian television soap opera, to the sale of ethnographic photographs in London auction houses, to pornographic images on the Web. New technologies are also included, with image digitization and computer-based multimedia extensively covered. There are sections on using film and photographic archives, and useful practical advice on publishing and presenting the results of visual research. Marcus Banks stresses the material nature of visual media, as objects that are entangled in social relations and argues for a humanistic, engaged and reflexive approach to social research. This book will be an indispensable guide for the use and study of social images.
 
Reading Pictures
 
Encountering the Visual
 
Material Vision
 
Research Strategies
 
Making Images
 
Presenting Research Results
 
Perspectives on Visual Research

`Banks provides a new and accessible introduction and approach to the visual in research. Importantly, it departs from the positivist approach that has limited visual research texts in the past to offer students and researchers and up-to-date framework by which to integrate visual methods into their own work. I would recommend Visual Methods in Social Research both as a course text or as reference for more advanced researchers' - Ethnos


Marcus Banks classic text Visual Methods in Social Research remains a must for teaching about visual and creative methods with undergraduate and postgraduate students. The book is engaging and communicates key concepts effectively. A well crafted guide to the visual and its relationship with contemporary qualitative inquiry.

Dr Dawn Mannay
Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff Univ.
September 16, 2014

A classic text for undergraduates and practitioners interested in using visual materials in social research. The emphasis on theory and practice make it an enduring work for anyone approaching visual sociology or visual anthropology.

Mr John Aitken
JOMEC, UClan
May 11, 2013

Though a bit older, Banks' book on visual methods is still the most fundamental and insightful works on the foundations of using visual approaches in the social sciences.

Mr Michael Waltinger
Media Management, Macromedia Hochschule für Medien und Kommunikation (Macromedia University of Media and Communication)
July 6, 2012

A thorough and readable book that I often refer to and recommend to students becoming more interested in visual methods

Dr Pamela Woolner
Education, Newcastle University
March 29, 2012

This is an excellent guide on the steady and use of social images. The book is written for social science students who are attracted to the idea and the potential for using visual materials in the course of empirical research work. It is an accessible book for beginning researchers however I would also say it will be of real interest and value to much more experienced researchers as this is a comprehensive analysis of visual culture and the use of visual images. A wonderful, well written and inspirational guide to using visual images.

Ms Therese Lewis
Faculty of Health, Social Work & Educ, Northumbria University
January 11, 2012

Marcus Banks’ Visual Methods in Social Research provides a commendable guide to explore visual material; from chapters on how to incorporate visual images into research, to chapters on the practical matters that such research will involve – working with archives, ethics, copyright and audiences.

Mr Rory Du Plessis
Department of Visual Arts, University of Pretoria
December 4, 2011

This is an excellent read for students and researchers interested in using photography and other visual methods in social research. The book is informative and, at the same time, provokes reflection. It covers many of the ethical/moral issues related to visual methods, which is very important and useful. Finally, it is an excellent source of references for further reading.

Dr Piotr Goldstein
School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, Manchester University
March 1, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

PDF file of Chapter 1

PDF file of the Preface


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Marcus Banks

Marcus Banks is Professor of Visual Anthropoloigy at the University of Oxford. Having completed a doctorate in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge, with a study of Jain people in England and India, he trained as an ethnographic documentary filmmaker at the National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield, UK.   He is the author Using Visual Data in Qualitative Research (2007) and co-editor of Rethinking Visual Anthropology (1997, with Howard Morphy), and Made to be Seen: Perspectives on the History of Visual Anthropology (2011, with Jay Ruby), as well as publishing numerous papers on visual research.   He has... More About Author

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