Cultural Turns

Cultural turns as challenge for qualitative and cultural scientific methods (Lecture Series in wise 2013/14 & sose 2014)

With Prof. Dr. Jürgen Raab (University of Koblenz-Landau), et al.

Visual Knowledge in the medium of photography. Methodological challenges of image interpretation in social science.

Although established approaches for the interpretation of photographic images and image sequences as a visual form of social action have been developing for quite some time, the hermeneutic sociology of knowledge is still very wary of proposals for a methodologically controlled, detailed analysis of concrete, individual figurative expression.

The Hermeneutic interpretation of texts, videos and films by means of conversation analysis, genre analysis and sequence analysis documents not only the details in the data; the data themselves are constituent, communicative details of expressive behavior for sense- and meaning-bearing elements of social action. And although their microsociological interpretation further raises the quality and validity criteria of both methodological procedures and the available interpretation, (photographic) images still appear mainly as "inconspicuous surface manifestations" of the social (Siegfried Kracauer: The Mass Ornament) – and thereby at best of artistic- or media science – interest. This is because for the social sciences, it was important to identify the social meaning of (photographic) images primarily on the collection and interpretation of their respective production, communication and reception contexts.

On the other hand, the approach represented here, fundamentally understands photographs as symbolic forms of social, visual, and image behavior and in connection with the core thinking of visual sociology, develops basic guidelines for a social science and hermeneutic constellation analysis. This analysis is responsive to the specific manifestation and communicative design approach of iconic knowledge in photographic data.

More information (German only)