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Title: Visualising community: using participant-driven photo-elicitation for research and application

Author: Van Auken, Paul M.; Frisvoll, Svein J.; Stewart, Susan I.;

Date: 2010

Source: Local Environment. 15(4): 373-388.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Despite a contemporary socio-culture revolving around cultural consumption of imagery, metaphors, representations and "gaze", photo-elicitation is a rarely used method for social scientists and planners to acquire knowledge. In this paper, we discuss participant-driven photo-elicitation, a process in which participant photos are paired with in-depth interviews. Based upon a review of the literature on photo-elicitation and our own transnational fieldwork experiences with it, we argue that this method has four primary advantages: photos can provide tangible stimuli for more effectively tapping into informants' tacit, and often unconscious, consumption of representations, images and metaphors; produces different and richer information than other techniques; and may also help to reduce differences in power, class and knowledge between researcher and researched. Finally, we argue that this method has unique potential to empower participants' involvement in activities related to local planning for sustainable community development and natural resource management efforts.

Keywords: photo-elicitation, public participation, sustainability, community

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Van Auken, Paul M.; Frisvoll, Svein J.; Stewart, Susan I. 2010. Visualising community: using participant-driven photo-elicitation for research and application. Local Environment. 15(4): 373-388.


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