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Notes on visual methods and ethnographic practices

Notes on visual methods and ethnographic practices

Jonathan Sullivan18 Apr 2014Leave a comment

Written by Deljana Iossifova.

In early 2007, my fieldwork began with the task of identifying a suitable case study area. I chose an area north of Shanghai’s Suzhou Creek and west of the inner city. Here, there were two very different neighbourhoods adjacent to each other, separated only by a narrow street (see Figure 1). On one side, there was the remainder of a former slum; on the other, a new-build residential development – a typical gated residential compound. My work in the field included the visual and sociometrical cataloguing of interactions across the street between these two adjacent areas. It also included an inquiry into what people had to say about one another and about the borderland between them. In the following sections, I elaborate on participant photography and photo elicitation interviewing, which I used extensively to generate the data.  I have added excerpts from my original field notes and hope that – without the need for too much further explanation – these reflect both the advantages and challenges of using a visual method by an inexperienced researcher in Shanghai.

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Yes, this was an interesting study by Chang and Lu of bilingualism and perceptions of the ...

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