In his research, Gary aims to develop the methodological and conceptual scope of visual sociology – as part of what he sees as the ‘third wave’ of visual sociology. In doing so, he foregrounds relationality and image studies as well as user practices in relation to the techno-social status of our age. In this regard, his recent (2021) book Visual Sociology: Practices and Politics in Contested Spaces (co-authored with Dennis Zuev) speaks to the interdisciplinarity of the subject and the varied constituency of scholarship and visual practice. To this end, this is not a visual sociologist’s manual or a comprehensive review of visual-based methodologies, rather, Gary’s book is a study of the nascent visual dependencies and visual utility emerging in the contested spaces that images now operate in.
Julia Tulke’s longitudinal Aesthetics of Crisis (AOC) project documents and analyses shifting currents on the walls of Athens. Julia follows Lyman Chaffee’s notion of political street art as a ‘barometer’ by tracing, in real time, newly emerging discourses and events: the austerity referendum and so-called refugee crisis of 2015; the growing visibility of feminist and queer protest and expression since the mid-2010s; dissent with documenta 14; anti-Airbnb and anti-gentrification sentiments; the response to COVID; and, most recently, graffiti removal as the aspirational performance of the end of crisis. Her work demonstrates the value of street art and graffiti as a methodological approach – rather than an object of analysis – able to render visible and sensible gradual changes in a particular urban social, political, and cultural landscape over time.
His recent books Sociology: Documentary photography and video as instruments for the construction and dissemination of knowledge in Social Sciences and Sociology with Audiovisual Media both enhance the theory and practice of visual methodologies and contribute valuable insights into participatory approaches, visual representation, and analysis.
Sabina completed her PhD in December 2018 at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (with supervisors Prof Iain Borden and Prof Ben Campkin). Her thesis was titled “Graffiti, Street Art and the Right to the Surface: For a Semiotic, Cultural and Legal Approach to Urban Surfaces and Inscriptions.”
Terence Heng is a prolific visual sociologist whose work engages with the performance of diasporic ethnic identities through place-making. He has documented the rituals and practices of Taoist spirit mediums, or Tang-ki, in suburban spaces in Singapore; as well as exhumations and the social and cultural life of Bukit Brown Cemetery.