Morena La Barba

 
Morena La Barba
IVSA Board Member

I’m senior lecturer and founding member of the Visual Sociology Unit at the University of Geneva where I teach courses on visual methodologies and visual creation for social science. I studied political science and women’s studies at the University of Bologna and training in documentary filmmaking and journalism. In my PhD dissertation in in sociology I produce a sociological film.

I have made several research mandates with film productions for public organizations and civil society about history and memory of Italian migration (with particular reference to voluntary associations and cinema), interculturality and political participation of young people and migrants.
In my work perspective visual sociology includes filmic sociology and stands out as public sociology: an epistemologically founded sociology, where sociological knowledge is possible thanks to an awareness of the researcher’s subjectivity and its values. Intersubjective relations, the development of a reflexive attitude, the ethical dimension are at the heart of the research process. This vision implies the logic of social change and structural transformation; the practices of collaboration, participation, intervention; the restitution, communication and dissemination of the results of our research to the different groups concerned and the public sphere.

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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

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

    James Reston

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

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

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

    Steve Harp

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

    Lisa Kristine

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    Bertolt Brecht

  • 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

  • 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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