Why use visual methods?
Visual representation is embedded within all human
Visual communication complements verbal and textual
Visible records provide a rich source of data
Visible materials capture data not recordable in other
Public sociology’s most general purpose is to make the discipline more useful socially, and public
ethnography is particularly suited to achieve this purpose.!
Operationally, public ethnography must be relevant to and accepted by the lay public.!
public ethnography needs to be topic-driven, shedding sociological light—and if possible new information—
on topics relevant to the public.
Gans H J. Public Ethnography; Ethnography as Public Sociology. Qualitative Sociology. 2010; 33: 97-104.
In a peopled ethnography the text is neither descriptive narrative nor conceptual theory; rather, the
understanding of the setting and its theoretical implications are grounded in a set of detailed vignettes,
based on ﬁeld notes, interview extracts, and the texts that group members produce. The detailed account,
coupled with the ability of the reader to generalize from the setting, is at the heart of this methodological
Fine G A. Towards a Peopled Ethnography: Developing Theory from Group Life. Ethnography. 2003; 4: 41-60
requires reﬂexive engagement
facilitates personal change
encourages collaborative analysis and raises awareness
of community issues
encourages community debate
contested interpretation of issues
informs and supports social advocacy
develops reﬂexive research and analytical skills
participatory, collaborative, personal and community
creative public outputs can raise income to support