Visual Methodological Approaches between Sociology and Anthropology: Photo-elicitation and Photovoice




photo-elicitation, photovoice, methodology, sociology, anthropology


This paper gives a concise overview of two specific methods – photo-elicitation and photovoice – which originated in anthropology, but found an application in sociology as well, mostly because of the closeness of these two disciplines on the theoretical and methodological level, as well as on the institutional. This closeness is, among other things, noticeable in the highly specific academic directions of these disciplines, such as those oriented towards the visual sphere, like visual anthropology and visual sociology. The specificity of the two mentioned methods is reflected in the fact that they are based on the visual and visual materials in general, and their use is, to a large extent, legitimated by a specific social context characterised by the predominance of the visual in many aspects (representational, communicative, political, urban to mention just a few) at both the global and local levels. Despite this situation, the mentioned methods, as well as those similar to them, are still used quite ‘shyly’ in research approaches to contemporary society. This paper discusses the central features and epistemological potential of photo-elicitation and photovoice, as well as their different formal variations, especially in the case of photo-elicitation. Basically, both methods are based in traditional research approaches like classic interviews and focus group discussions. Despite this, their use represents a visible and certainly significant expansion of the methodological range. In that sense, special attention is paid to the possible advantages of these methods which separate them in a certain way from other methodological practices. In order to prevent their uncritical glorification, the limitations and disadvantages of these methods are also discussed, which should offer a more nuanced methodological picture.


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How to Cite

Zvijer, Nemanja. 2023. “Visual Methodological Approaches Between Sociology and Anthropology: Photo-Elicitation and Photovoice”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 18 (2):351–370.