Anne Gotfredsen

Anne Gotfredsen
Early Career Scholars Advisory Committee Member

I’m currently a PhD student at the unit for Epidemiology and Global Health at Umeå University in Sweden but I’m also affiliated with the Umeå Centre for Gender Studies. My background is within gender studies, political science and global health. The overall aim of my doctoral thesis is to explore and understand how teenagers involved in various civic organizations and leisure activities (both online and offline) develop a collective capacity to influence their mental health. This ethnographic study, based on participatory observations and photo elicitation explores teens’ own perspectives, meanings and experiences on how social processes in the context of civic spaces influence social factors of youth mental health such as stress and achievement pressure. These social factors are shaped by intersecting social positions and power relations in terms of class, ethnicity, gender, dis/ability, rural/urban location and so on.

Since my BSc degree, I’ve been interested in emancipatory research and above all, how to actually put it into practice! Many projects start out with high expectations on participation and co-production, but due to different reasons (time, money etc.) it ends up as more of a ‘smash-n-grab’ experience. However, I take a rather critical stance towards concepts as empowerment and emancipation, especially within the many Photovoice and photo elicitation studies, since we need to be careful in defining empowerment and if/how participants have been empowered or not. Apart from learning more about visually focused research, I see the IVSA as an excellent network to discuss some of these ethical and methodological questions.



    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


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

    William S. Burroughs

  • 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


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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


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

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • 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


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

    James Reston


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

    Steve Harp

  • 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


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

    Lisa Kristine


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

    Bertolt Brecht


    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


    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

  • 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


Worcester Uni Sociology

Contact us

Become a member