Gillian Rose: Visual Methodologies

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Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. (London: Sage, 2007)
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Chapter 7: Discourse Analysis 1

  • This chapter looks at first of two methodologies related to discourse - Rose calls the first methodology Discourse Analysis 1:
This form of discourse analysis tends to pay rather more attention to the notion of discourse as articulated through various kinds of visual images and verbal texts than it does to the practice entailed by specific discourses. As Rosalind Gill (1996: 141) says, it uses 'discourse' to 'refer to all forms of talk and texts.' It is most concerned with discourse, discursive formations and their productivity. (146)
  • Concerned primarily with language.
  • Limitations of psychoanalysis - doesn't sufficiently consider the social construction of difference (race, class) (NB the previous chapter looks a psychoanalytic techniques)
  • Psychoanalysis: pays limited attention to (a) ways of seeing brought to specific images by specific audience (b) social institutions and practices through which images are made and displayed.

Michel Foucault - see also Threads and Quotes

  • Hostile to psychoanalysis - but agrees subjects are produced instead of born
  • Concern with particular processes that produce subjectivity
  • Scholars on Foucault - Teresa de Lauretis aims to connect Freud and Foucault - "...Freud, she says, provides and account of how the social processes described by Foucault are subjectively articulated." (142)
  • Meaning of discourse in Foucault's terms - group of statements which structure the way a thing is through, and the way we act on the basis of that thinking.
  • Aspects of discourse: special languages, special knowledge, special institutions, special subjects, special practices
  • Intertextuality - way that meanings are contingent on other meanings (weak definition)
  • Visuality - sort of discourse as well
  • Discursive Formation
  • Discourse - a form of discipline - disciplines subjects in to certain ways of thinking and acting.
  • Construction of claims of truth - lies at the heart of the intersection of knowledge and power
  • Regime of Truth - the particular grounds upon which a truth is claimed and these shift historically.
  • Content analysis, semiology and psychoanalysis all assume we need to dive behind the surface of appearances of things in order to determine their real meaning - they seek out latent meanings - but Foucault rejects this "penetrative approach" at the levels of both method and explanation - emphasis is placed not on WHY power works in the way it does but instead HOW power works - "How does it do what it does, how did it do what it did?" (145)
  • Foucault's most satisfying works - empirical accounts of institutions - focus on details, casual assumptions, everyday mundane routines, their taken-for-granted architecture. (this seems connected to Bakhtin's concern with prosaics]]
  • Foucault's methodology is vague. - There's a tendency in discourse analysis to be "coy" about methods - terms used to describe them include "emergent," a "craft skill"...
  • Distinctions between discourse analysis 1 and discourse analysis 2: not clear cut - but useful to discuss them separately because they do produce different kinds of outputs.
  • Interested in how people use language to construct their accounts of the social world and how images construct specific views of the social world. (Pays attention to language itself as well as the image itself...)
  • Images are socially produced = so concerned with the social modality of the image site (?). Looking at how various aspects make themselves persuasive - discourse analysis looks at strategies of persuasion as well as socially constituted forms of discursive power - looks at the social construction of difference and authority = looking at the social production and effects of discourses.



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