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On Not Talking to Strangers: Researching the Micro Worlds of Girls through Visual Auto-ethnographic Practices

Gerry Bloustien and Sarah Baker

Keywords: Visual ethnography, pre-teen, teenage, gender, ethics, access, social praxeology


How can visual ethnography help us to understand the nature and

the complexity of the (ethnic/gendered/classed) experience of growing

up? Drawing on two ethnographic projects, we discuss the purposes

and the difficulties of the particular methodology of auto-visual

ethnography which we deployed. Our specific focus was the relation-

shipand the tension between the representation and the individual

everyday experiences. Through focusing upon the micro worlds of

the young people themselves within their wider ‘parent’ cultures,

their engagement with home, school, and outside leisure activities,

were revealed to be strategically (if sometimes unconsciously) part of

much larger overlapping social spheres and powerful cultural influ-

ences. The pre-teenage and teenage female participants were invited

to document any aspects of their worlds on cameras and video.

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