[Air-L] CFP for a special issue of Forum Qualitative Research/Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung (FQS)

MC Cambre mcambre at ualberta.ca
Wed Nov 5 13:05:28 PST 2014

CFP for a special issue of Forum Qualitative Research/Forum Qualitative
Sozialforschung (FQS):

[FQS is a peer-reviewed multilingual online journal for qualitative
research established in 1999]

Visibilities. Multiple Orders and Practices through Visual Discourse
Analysis and Beyond

In contemporary societies, visual media and related visual practices are
ubiquitous. Digitalisation has enabled new communicative and aesthetic
practices of ‘vernacular image’ production. Knowledge about symbolic and
iconic techniques is refined in professional as well as amateur contexts.
Technologies of storage, computation and distribution have rendered image,
sound and text mobile and drawing them into what has become known as ‘big
data’. This ubiquity, accessibility and speed of information creation and
sharing via polymedia channels means, the visible, along with the audible
and the touchable, becomes an increasingly important interface between
meanings, milieus, organisations and technologies. At this stage fields
such as visual studies and visual sociology have seen that hermeneutic and
ethnographic approaches have been of somewhat limited value in
understanding these new mediations, institutions and economic formations.
Many scholars have noted that the situation has challenged the analytical
and methodological frames they have used in the past.

In the special issue, we welcome papers that address visibilities in
relation to social, cultural and material orderings and their principles.
Methodological approaches might reflexively provide keys to understanding
the social, technological and economic flows of our time. Contemporary
visibilities draw together, space, time, things, and the social. They
produce and make intelligible differences and similarities. They sensitize
and desensitize people to other people, animals and things. The binary
opposition between the discursive and non-discursive has thus not become
obsolete, but lost much of its explanatory force. Just as cultural text in
a broader sense is not only produced by language, visibility can be
produced through, images, texts, sounds, or other materialities and

The texts in this volume will be dedicated to understanding the practices,
the types of power relations and the technological infrastructures in which
practices of visualising and orders of visibilities unfold. While most
discourse analyses rely on the notion that everything which is said is
dependent on what is sayable, we invite contributors to imagine how we
might analyze visual practices in relation to the visible.

In visual research, the relation between the social and the visual has been
generally studied from two perspectives: either the image merely indicates
a state of the social and becomes reduced to it, or it uses optical
instruments as tools for registering the social and thus confounds the
visual with the social itself, granting direct access to its reality. We
believe it is might be more appropriate to speak of studying social and
cultural realities with the image. With in the sense of entering into
dialogue and argument with the image, all the while not attempting to
understand the image on its own, but how image, sound and materiality are
deployed reflexively in social arenas – with their own specific power or
potential to render visible or invisible.

Doing research with the image as we propose for this special issue supposes
that social reality thickens through the emergence of visibilities, which
manifest in images, texts, infrastructures etc. We would like to invite
contributions that acknowledge representation is increasingly replaced by
recursivity. Papers are also welcome that take the position that neither
language nor the visual nor the spatial nor the temporal registers are any
longer privileged modes of world-making, but that visibilities, or even
sensualities (as sensibilities of bodies to others bodies) can materialize
in all of these domains.

Thinking with the image (and the sensible) and the study of visibilities in
these ways will allow researchers to address a number of important issues
of contemporary social, political and economic life. Following this
critical perspective, we invite contributions that consider but are not
limited to the following related themes:

1. How are boundaries drawn (or erased) visually between nature and
culture, between the social and the non-social, the human and non-human and
between different categories of people: Which individuals and associations
become included as subjects worth interpreting and understanding?

2. What is the nature of the relationship between the development of visual
practices, cultures, and technologies and certain knowledge regimes or
economic regimes? Which forms of subjectivation are advanced in regimes of
the visible and sayable, do they inform individualisation or
dividualisation or other?

3. In which ways might the distribution of knowledge be formed or informed
differently within the context of a general aesthetization and
informatization of ‘networked’ societies? What might the roles of experts
and amateurs and their relationships be in the development of cultural
skills such as visualization and illustration?

4. How far do visibilities and legibilities have the capacity to influence
social and cultural orders through technologies, practices, and activism.
Which kinds of competences and agencies are afforded by visual practices
and visual discourse and what kind of limitations might be found?

5. How can methodological considerations also evolve to reflect our
reflexive positions in a visually saturated world? What part can images be
said to play in research phases such as data collection, analysis and
rendering of results? Are these still appropriate or do we need new ways of
thinking with visualities?

The collection of papers in this special issue will bring together and into
dialogue authors from German, French and English speaking academia. For the
sake of accessibility, we kindly ask for contributions to be submitted in

Please submit abstracts of not more than 800 words by January 30th to:

Mathias Blanc: mathias.blanc at univ-lille3.fr

Maria-Carolina Cambre: mcambre at ualberta.ca

Boris Traue: boris.traue at posteo.de


Carolina Cambre PhD
Assistant Professor, King's University College @ Western University


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