Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Visual Sociology

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit explores the meanings of visual products and the way they are produced and consumed. It also looks into the aesthetics of everyday life including home décor, fashion and body adornment –such elements of the visual culture are often considered as mediating sites between ones psychic interior and cultural exterior. This study-unit brings together a wide variety of inter-disciplines within the humanities.

Study-unit content:

- Seeing as a social construct;
- Theories of visual sociology part 1 (Harper 1988, Chaplin 1994, Becker 2007, Lury 1998);
- Theories of visual sociology part 2;
- Visual cultural studies (Lister & Wells, 2000);
- Exploration of visual culture: Aesthetics of everyday life;
- Tattoos and body adornments;
- Home décor;
- Studying space and material culture;
- Photo elicitation;
- Video in Ethnographic representation;
- Ethnographic methods;
- Visual Ethnography – the works of Sarah Pink;
- Appropriate uses and ethical issues;
- Analysing visual data.

Study-Unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit include:

- Acquaint students with obtaining interdisciplinary knowledge on the sociology of visual culture;
- Stimulate ways of seeing and come to a better understanding of one’s self-identity and that of others;
- Acquaint students with the ability to understand and evaluate sociological arguments and the ability to apply sociological concepts.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify and analyse different sociological approaches with reference to visual sociology;
- Describe how individuals are shaped through basic social processes of culture, by understanding micro-level social interaction;
- Apply sociological knowledge in everyday life through observation.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Aquire a sociological imagination in ways of seeing images;
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills through informed discussion on sociological literature on the topic;
- Verbally present an argument on a select research topic during presentations;
- Construct an analytically solid argument within an academic essay format.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Douglas Harper, 2012, Visual Sociology, New York: Routledge.
- Elizabeth Chaplin, 1994, Sociology and Visual Representations, London: Routledge.
- Sarah Pink, 2007, Doing Visual Ethnography, London: Sage.

Supplementary Readings:

- Kupfer, J. (1983) Experience as art: Aesthetics in everyday lives, Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
- Reichel-Dolmatoff, E. (1998) Introduction, In Gröening, K., Body decoration: A world survey of body art, NY: Vendome Press.

Students are also provided with a reading packet that includes journal articles and book chapters.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 Yes 30%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Valerie Visanich

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.