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Bodies Keying Politics:A Visual Frame Analysis of Gendered Local Activism in France and Finland

Advances in the Visual Analysis of Social Movements

ISBN: 978-1-78190-635-4, eISBN: 978-1-78190-636-1

Publication date: 1 March 2013


The chapter introduces a methodological approach to analyzing visual material based on Erving Goffman's frame analysis. Building on the definition of dominant frames in a set of visual material, and the analysis of keying within these frames, the approach provides a tangible tool to analyze contextualized visual material sociologically. To illustrate the approach, the chapter analyzes visual representations of social movement contention in two local contexts, the cities of Lyon, France, and Helsinki, Finland. The material was collected during ethnographic fieldwork and consists of 505 images from local activist websites. The analysis asks how femininity, masculinity, and gender/sex ambiguity key visual representations of different aspects of contentious action, such as mass gatherings, violence, protest policing, and performativity. Strong converging features are found in the contents of the frames in the two contexts, yet differences also abound, in particular in the ways femininity keys different frames of contention in visual representations. The results show, first, that the visual frame analysis approach is a functioning tool for analyzing large sets of visual material with a qualitative emphasis, and second, that a comparison of local activism through visual representations calls into question many general assumptions of political cultures, repertoires of contention, and cultural gender systems, and highlights the importance for sociologists of looking closely enough for both differences and similarities.



Luhtakallio, E. (2013), "Bodies Keying Politics:A Visual Frame Analysis of Gendered Local Activism in France and Finland", Doerr, N., Mattoni, A. and Teune, S. (Ed.) Advances in the Visual Analysis of Social Movements (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 35), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 27-54.



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