Culture and Visual Forms of Power

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Abstract

This book is a collection of essays that brings together researchers working on power relations with visual methods. The text is epistemologically radical in attracting authors who look at culture as a field of struggle, constructed by different points of view. Today, culture can be seen as a specific field in which “power” is exercised. In particular, questions about the nature of power are addressed. The editor suggests two points in the discussion: how is reality constructed, and how is it connected with power? What is the real space for subject freedom? Foucault’s idea of “power” is that it is not a thing, but a relation. Power is not merely repressive (like the use of violent control mechanisms in the pre-modern era), but it is productive as well as an everyday disciplinary practice. Starting from this perspective, we ask whether visual methodology can be used to describe and analyze different forms of power. These diverse contributions demonstrate how in a time of extensive social change, culture is always a space for resistance. By examining cases in which visual sociology is used as action research, the authors show the affect of visual emergence in grass-roots social activism in the southeast Australian mainland. For instance photography is used to analyze the perceptions natives from a rural community have of their own territory, as in the case of the Huarpe in Argentina. Incorporating comparative analysis from different parts of the Global South, such as the performance of two groups of photographers in Brazil and Bangladesh, they discover images are in tension between “the dominant and the residual” in the critique of design in Latin America. Subjectivities and video-based methodology are also used to explore the intercourse between Roma and Italian culture and expressions of resistance in the form of dance. With the contribution of Emiliana Armano, Tamara Bellone, Enzo Colombo, Carlos Cowan Ros, Karen Crinall, Verónica Devalle, Fabiene Gama, Beatriz Nussbaumer, and Timothy Shortell