9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Migrant Children and Integration Building II, C6.02

Photo-interviewing: Usefulness in Understanding a Migrant Child's Perspective of his Culture

Photo-interviewing: Usefulness in understanding a migrant child?s perspective of his culture

This paper explores photo-elicitation and auto-driven interview as significant tools in social research with children. Scholarship on the use of images in child research generally concur that photo-elicitation and auto-driving work well in removing inhibitions during the interview, help maintain lasting records in a non-verbal format and provide avenues for understanding the child´s perspective. Many advocates of this methodology and approach emphasize how the use of images temper the imbalance of power between (adult) researcher and child and thereby addresses the interpersonal dynamics that often impinge negatively on the research relationships and contexts.

Drawing upon a case study of Raj, a 10-year-old, first generation South Asian boy, I argue and demonstrate that in addition to the benefits mentioned above photo-elicitation/autodriving also engender exploration of complex concepts like children´s identity, culture and identification in the context of migration with the child. I argue that Raj´s identification with his culture(s) and daily activities as presented pictorially assists in grasping the multiplicity of cultural identities that he embodies, experiences and performs. Indeed, these methods figure in his articulation of these various identities. I also address issues of privacy and re-presentation of photographs as evidence, despite consent and assent of the child and his parents, as concerns that need to be kept in mind while using this methodology.