The Handbook of Participatory Video

Participatory video is a growing area of research and an increasingly popular tool among researchers and NGOs working with communities around the world. The Handbook of Participatory Video advances the field, engaging critically with it as a research methodology and method and interrogating assumptions about its emancipatory nature and potential for social change.

In twenty-eight chapters, contributors examine historical, ethical, methodological, and technical aspects of participatory video and discuss power, ownership, and knowledge production. The Handbook is organized into six parts: Locating Participatory Video, Participatory Video as a Critical Research Methodology, Working with Visual Data, Power and Ethics in Participatory Video, Dissemination and Reaching New Audiences, and Communities and Technologies. This benchmark work takes an interdisciplinary and global approach and will be invaluable to researchers, practitioners, and students.

Reviews

“Much more than an overview, this Handbook advances the field of participatory video methodology in careful, determined, critical and sophisticated ways. Its interdisciplinarity, global scope, and array of rich examples are impressive and instructive as contributors highlight latent ethical and reflexive dimensions by revealing, identifying, and assessing previously unexamined assumptions to promote a firmer foundation for future work.”
Richard Chalfen, Center on Media and Child Health, Boston Children’s Hospital

The Handbook of Participatory Video provides interdisciplinary insight into using and doing participatory video research, serving up both nuanced and broad-ranging perspectives on the theoretical, ethical, and methodological concerns in working with participatory video, as well as the tremendous opportunities, challenges, and benefits of such research. This work is a welcome overview of participatory video research and represents a major contribution that will be of significant interest and benefit to anyone interested in this type of work.”
Jonathan Marion, president-elect of Society for Visual Anthropology and assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville

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  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins

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    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

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    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

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    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

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    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

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    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

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    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine

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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson

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    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

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    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

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    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

#Visualsociology

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