Visual Sociology

Course content

This course introduces students into methods and empirical approaches to the study of visual sociology drawing on interdisciplinary theories and methods in visual and cultural studies, media and digital communication, narrative, gender studies, and discourse analysis. In this course we will critically investigate how images are constructed and spread in digital publics and news media, among policy makers and in globalized arenas of politics, policy-making, and protest. Visual images have been studied by media theorists, art historians and by empirical analysts of gender, culture, media, political discourse and postcolonial studies. Only lately have sociologists started to conduct visual analysis. We trace how journalists, bloggers, or non-profit organizations as well as critical writers and theorists try to challenge dominant images and visual representations, and we investigate how cultural codes, familiar stories and specific stereotypes shape the boundaries of democracy and public participation.

This course is fairly empirical and it requires students to hold in-class presentations and written assignments throughout the semester and conduct their own empirical Portfolio paper analysis guided by interdisciplinary theories and methods for visual analysis. Students will learn to analyse visuals using a variety of different methods including ethnography for the study of face-to-face publics, and comparative analysis to study digital media and (trans-)national public spaces.

Education

Elective Course

Course package (MSc 2015):

Culture, lifestyle and everyday life
Knowledge, organisation and politics

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

The course will provide the students with knowledge of

- the core sociological research literature within the thematic field of the course, and

- familiarity with the recent literature on visual sociology including interdisciplinary research on visuals in visual theory and art history, visual culture, gender, media studies and digital media, narrative and discourse studies. 

 

Skills:

Students will have trained their ability to

- compare and contrast key theoretical perspectives that are central to the thematic field of research within the course

- identify significant international and interdisciplinary developments in research on visual sociology.

- apply and critically discuss key theoretical concepts within the thematic field of the course

- review and reflect on the interdisciplinary scientific literature on visual sociology acquiring insights into a number of different disciplines and their conceptualization of the themes we discuss as well as their state of the art. 

 

Competences:

Further, students should also be able to

- assess and discuss practical relevance of their analysis for key actors, issues, and problems within and across the methodological and thematic fields addressed by the course.

Competencies:

In carrying out the presentations, projects, and written assignments students demonstrate that they have acquired competencies that allow them to independently

- identify and analyse empirical cases and settings for research on the themes of the course.

Lectures, class discussions, student presentations, exercises and written assignments based on the readings. The presentations include project work (either individually or in groups).

Students are expected to contribute actively to discussion of core theoretical-analytical tools as well as the more specific analytical examples and case studies. In their written assignments, including the final portfolio paper assignment, students are expected to identify their own analytical questions and demonstrate their capacity to critically assess and analyse empirical data based on the examples and case studies we discuss in class.

Students should also expect to review literature and assess empirical data besides the course texts. Aspects of conducting literature reviews within the relevant field of research will be taught and trained.

Readings include peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters,  films, literary narratives and digital media storytelling, newspaper articles and videos. Students are required to read approximately 600-700 pages.

Students are also expected to choose supplementary reading materials for their presentations, projects, and written assignments (approximately 300 pages).

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio
Individual or group.
A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 148
  • Exam
  • 30
  • English
  • 206