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Accepted Paper:

Interact through visual ethnography in rural Africa  


Francesca Declich (Università di Urbino Carlo Bo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will talk about experiences of visual ethnography in areas where the newest audio-visual technologies are neither widespread nor available to most of the people. Nevertheless audio-visuals still can play important role favouring interactions otherwise impossible

Paper long abstract:

Visual ethnography can be done in different contexts and most challenging visual technologies, albeit well widespread nowadays, do not reach all over the areas. Electric power, even if solar energy is used for lightening, radio and television broadcasting not everywhere is available to the extent of allowing timeless use of new visual technologies.

This paper will talk about experiences of visual ethnography in areas that can be considered resilient to the use of the newest technologies. Those technologies can be available to filmmakers but less so to subjects of movies or those who would like to make them in less privileged and poorer contexts. Thus, the production of non-fictional cinema that could involve participatory approaches or non-linear representation to redefine the gaze in visual ethnography becomes a very challenging enterprise. It will be presented the relationship with audiovisual means of matrilineal groups of Makhwa who were first displaced from southern Somalia to Tanzania then became refugees, and thereafter, citizens of Tanzania. Their ethnographic case shows the interaction between the different subjects of the audiovisual which becomes an integral part of the ethnographic research.

This paper argues that, in certain conditions, ethnographers may play a special role in eliciting important contents and avoiding exoticization.

Panel P089
Ethnography and new 'habitus' of visual productions