Visualizing community: an experiment in participatory photography among Kurdish diasporic workers in London

Holgate, Jane, Keles, Janroj Yilmaz ORCID logoORCID: and Kumarappan, Leena (2012) Visualizing community: an experiment in participatory photography among Kurdish diasporic workers in London. Sociological Review, 60 (2) . pp. 312-332. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article] (doi:10.1111/j.1467-954X.2012.02075.x)


Most accounts of research methods in academic journals give an impression that research progresses in an orderly, logical and linear manner. Yet, in reality it is often more ‘messy’ than we admit. This paper reports on an experiment on the use of visual photographic methods in a study of Kurdish migrant workers in London who have had problems at work. The aim was to understand the type of problems workers faced and how they attempted to solve or deal with the issues they encountered. We were interested in the extent to which workers looked to local communities for support and if or how their identity impacted on the actions they took. The use of participant-generated photography developed while the research was in progress and was utilized in addition to individual and group interviews in order to explore if this was helpful (to us and to research participants) in explaining issues, such as identity and ‘community’, which can often be difficult to verbalize or articulate. As a first foray into incorporating visual methods we struggled at first with ways to explain to participants the type of data we wanted, before learning that it was important to ‘lose control’ and allow participants to ‘speak’ for themselves using the lens of their cameras. The paper explores theoretical justifications that influenced our approach in our first attempt at participatory photography. It will look at the use of images constructed by research participants and how these were used in focus group situations to explore how or whether individual meanings of work, identity, community and belonging have resonance in the wider Kurdish community.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 11991
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Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2013 15:10
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2019 16:37

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