“La sociologie comme elle s’apprend” is the filmic narrative of a learning process—both of a discipline (with its scientific norms, analytic frames and methods) and of critical thinking on the social. Emphasizing the articulation between the international circulation of sociological theories and the localised reality of fieldwork in a provincial town in Russia, this documentary follows Russian students engaged in a French curriculum at the State Universities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg during a week of fieldwork internship. While most of these students never learned sociology or ethnography before, this internship, which is organised every year, is always very intensive. During a full week, we have meetings after meetings to talk about students’ difficulties in the field and help them formulating research questions. My job can also imply joining them in the field to support them and negotiate interviews if needed. And when they come back, late in the evening, after a day of observations and interviews, we talk about their results even if that is in the middle of the night. This is generally a 19/24h mentoring, as exhausting as it is stimulating.
My book was published in March 2019 by Palgrave MacMillan. The book includes photographs by myself, in addition to work from Ed Ruscha, Joel Sternfeld, Richard Misrach, Roy Arden, Wout Berger, Mikael Levin. An eclectic book that will make a critical contribution to other disciplines beyond visual sociology.
Blooming sunflowers on stone walls, mosaic flowers and swimming carps on stairs, wing of lost angel next to a house—these beautiful pictures of Ihwa Mural Village initially lured me into visiting. On my actual visit, however, it was not the cute little paintings on the wall that greeted me but aggressive messages painted in a violent red color by an angry villager— “The Rights to Rest”; “We Are Not Monkeys in the Cage”.
The nineteenth-century is characterised by an energy for, and an enthusiasm about, the representational which has outstripped anything before, or indeed since, in its general range and basic inventiveness. During a handful of decades the representational was, to an unprecedented degree, mechanised, democratised, popularised, and humanised. For instance, the mechanisation of the representational is most readily pegged out between markers such as the discovery of photography in the 1830’s; the first recording of sound in 1877; and the invention of wireless and cinematography in the 1890’s.[i]