Seeing is Believing? Approaches to Visual Research

ISBN: 978-0-76231-021-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-211-5

ISSN: 1042-3192

Publication date: 30 December 2004


In order to sustain our argument that a blending of visual sociology and the sociology of development can be productive and politically engaged, we need to locate the debate in the wider developmental context into which sociological interventions can be made. As this chapter will demonstrate, popular understandings of development, mostly mediated by visual imagery, reflect a rapidly changing development industry, as well as affording significant social theoretical insights. Thus, we need to briefly consider some of the key features of the development landscape, and the ways in which sociologists might engage in this, particularly in the context of the globalisation of development; the ways in which processes of globalisation are transforming the actors and agents involved in development, the roots of development authority and legitimacy and the changing ways in which development is defined and understood. This already hints at an important link with the visual; “development” must be understood as being linked to the same processes and relationships which underpin a world increasingly shaped by the visual image.


Smith, M. and Donnelly, J. (2004), "POWER, INEQUALITY, CHANGE AND UNCERTAINTY: VIEWING THE WORLD THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT PRISM", Pole, C. (Ed.) Seeing is Believing? Approaches to Visual Research (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 123-145. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1042-3192(04)07008-9

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