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Visual Sociology Reframed: An Analytical Synthesis and Discussion of Visual Methods in Social and Cultural Research


  • Luc Pauwels

    () (University of Antwerp, Belgium)


Visual research is still a rather dispersed and ill-defined domain within the social sciences. Despite a heightened interest in using visuals in research, efforts toward a more unified conceptual and methodological framework for dealing vigilantly with the specifics of this (relatively) new way of scholarly thinking and doing remain sparse and limited in scope. In this article, the author proposes a more encompassing and refined analytical framework for visual methods of research. The "Integrated Framework" tries to account for the great variety within each of the currently discerned types or methods. It does so by moving beyond the more or less arbitrary and often very hybridly defined modes and techniques, with a clear focus on what connects or transcends them. The second part of the article discusses a number of critical issues that have been raised while unfolding the framework. These issues continue to posea challenge to a more visual social science, but can be turned into opportunities for advancement when dealt with appropriately.

Suggested Citation

  • Luc Pauwels, 2010. "Visual Sociology Reframed: An Analytical Synthesis and Discussion of Visual Methods in Social and Cultural Research," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 38(4), pages 545-581, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:somere:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:545-581

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