9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Innovative Analysis Building II, B2.01

Comparative Data Analysis: Performing, Dancing and Theorising the Data

In recent years, there has been burgeoning sociological interest in the use of artistic methods, such as film, photography, poetry and performance in qualitative data generation, analysis and dissemination. For example, artistic and performative forms of data analysis have been used by some social researchers (Bagley, 2008; Bagley and Cancienne, 2002; Gergen & Jones, 2008). In this context, artists and art forms have become additional resources through which social scientists can ?transform their analysis? into artistic representations. This paper discusses a pilot project which was established to facilitate a process of co-analysis between artists and sociologists. This involved sustained and structured collaboration and debate between academic researchers from sociology, dance and performance studies. The main aims of the pilot were to analyse data in ways which did not prioritise the needs of social scientists and to explore the ways in which different perspectives might transform data analysis itself. The collaborators analysed ten qualitative interviews using methodologies drawn from the three disciplines. Within the paper we demonstrate and critically evaluate our comparative analysis and address the methodological and epistemological issues raised by it for sociologists. We also provide insights into the process and outcomes of analysis created through our collaboration. Our discussion and findings contribute to the growing corpus of literature which considers what sociology has to gain from engagement with artists and artistic methods and explores the potential of artistic methods in enriching qualitative data analysis.

Bagley, (2008) ?Educational ethnography as performance art: towards a sensuous feeling and knowing? Qualitative Research 8:53 - 72.
Bagley & Cancienne, M. B. (2002) Dancing the Data New York: Peter Lang.
Gergen, M. & Jones, K. (2008) ?Editorial: A Conversation about Performative Social Science? Forum: Qualitative Social Research 9(2) Art 43.