Someone’s Private Zoo

Anne Harris (Victoria University)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Publication date: 6 April 2011


This article explodes traditional notions of ethnographic documentary, and instead positions the emerging practice of ethnocinema as a 21st century modality that falls within the paradigm of what Denzin calls the ‘eighth moment scholarship’ in this ‘fractured future’. Drawing on the monological, dialogic and imagistic ‘data’ from the ethnocinematic research project Cross‐Marked: Sudanese Australian Young Women Talk Education, the article uses ethnographic documentary film theory (including Minh‐ha, Rouch, and Aufderheide) and the critical pedagogical scholarship of McLaren to examine notions of performative identity construction and the possibility of intercultural identities and collaborations. Utilising the central metaphor of Minh‐ha’s ethnographic and filmic ‘zoo’, which cages those who are Othered by race, class, gender, sexuality and a myriad of differences, this article and ethnocinema overall seek to overthrow notions of difference, culture and community while recognising the increasingly prescient power of McLuhan’s dictum that the ‘medium is the message’ in this rhizomatic age.



Harris, A. (2011), "Someone’s Private Zoo", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 62-79.

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