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Visuell kultur i barns vardagsliv: Bilder, medier och praktiker
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2002 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Visual culture in the everyday life of children : pictures, media and practices (English)
Abstract [en]

This study concerns visual culture in 64 children-s (6- to 8-year-olds) everyday practices at a Swedish after-school center. It draws on an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, ranging from visual culture to discourse analysis, exposing the complexity of visuality in children-s social interactions, when talking about TV-programs, mimicing Spice Girls videos, drawing caricatures or looking at picture books. The central questions of the study are: What are children-s visual practices? What do children-s everyday practices tell us about visual culture and finally: What do these practices tell us about children-s agency?

The data draw on media ethnographic fieldwork. The total material consists of 90 hours of videotaped after-school practices, 500 slides, and 79 drawings and objects produced by the children. Also, it contains 8 hours of interviews with children from the center, in their own rooms at home. The material covers 419 practices that reflect visual culture. Verbal as well as nonverbal interaction (gaze, gestures, voice) was transcribed on a micro level according to transcription rules set up by conversation analysis. The analyses combine this discursive method with a media ethnographic approach, which makes it possible to study the children as agents, investigating their relation to visual culture, both from the perspective of reproduction and from that of resistance and subversion.

An overall finding was that children-s appropriation of visual culture was interactionally grounded. At the center, the children constantly negotiated visual meaning. As a consequence of the collaborative nature of visual culture, the social meaning of a picture could not be fixated or established a priori. Looking at a TV-program, creating scientific models, acting as a Sonic fan, or comparing tattoos were not just part of larger cultural processes, but were also processes, under continuous negotiation, far beyond the specific situation in which the practices were initially situated. Simultaneously, the children negotiated and renegotiated power relations and friendship alliances.

It is also argued that the children exploited visual culture as a tool in, for example, gender identity work, since they both positioned each other through visual discourse and were positioned by visual culture. Thereby, this study contributes to an understanding of visuality as both a resource and a restriction in children-s lives. Title in translation: Visual culture in the everyday life of children - pictures, media and practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2002. , 252 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 250
Keyword [en]
visual culture, media ethnography, chidlren, discursive practice, agency, subject positioning, identity, popular culture
Keyword [sv]
förskolebarn, barnforskning, barnkultur, barn och massmedia, barn och bild, visuell kommunikation
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29767Local ID: 15175ISBN: 91-7373-298-2OAI: diva2:250584
Public defence
2002-04-12, Hörsal Planck, Fysikhuset, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Sparrman, Anna
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Department of Child StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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