Author:Paola Tine (The University of Adelaide)
Paper short abstract:
This article provides an overview of the historical evolution of the visual anthropological discipline and it offers a proposal for the use of fine art, specifically painting, as a complementary method to express anthropological insights.
Paper long abstract:
In recent years, following the example of anthropological and sociological studies, the use of visual methods for the observation and production of insights has become increasingly important in many other disciplines of social research, such as social work, social policy, health sector and education. But why can visual methods of representation be so useful in social research? This article provides an overview of the historical evolution of the visual anthropological discipline, and of the debate about the relationship between art practice and ethnographic research. It focuses on the role of art as a means of communication and, in particular, as a way of expressing inner feelings, emotions, and all those inexplicable states of mind known in philosophy as 'qualia'. The theory developed by Ricoeur on the application of text-interpretation methodology as a paradigm for interpretation in general in the field of social sciences, is used here to offer a proposal for the implementation of fine art, specifically painting, as a complementary method to express anthropological insights.
Art as Ethnography/Ethnography as Art