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Creative Explorations: New Approaches to Identities and Audiences Paperback – Jun 15 2007


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
First Rate and Long Overdue Sept. 28 2007
By Andrew I. Epstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With the publication of Creative Explorations, David Gauntlett and his colleagues at the Art Lab at the University of Westminster establish themselves as leaders in the advancement of methodological approaches to the study of contemporary identity. Superbly written and masterfully interdisciplinary, this book speaks to a broad swath of practitioners and researchers seeking to gain deeper understandings of people and the way local and global forces influence, and are influenced by, expressions of self.

By moving beyond the role of researcher as fly on the wall and subject as local informant, Gauntlett challenges us to investigate processes of self-representation through art and video, even Lego building, in order to explore identity under much more authentic contexts than interviewing and observation alone. It is no longer the case that our subjects are actors within closed social systems where the researcher bewares of poisoning the local culture, but rather are part and parcel of the same local and global forces as the researcher. It is no longer enough simply to be reflexive, but rather to engage our subjects with tools of modern media and to view the process of personal creative expression as fertile ground for gaining understandings of identity development anywhere in the world, even in the most remote places or under the most dire circumstances.

While contemporary researchers of Visual Anthropology/Sociology and Visual Culture keep the tools of media production in the hands of the researcher and locate their subject of study in the products of self-representation, Gauntlett advocates a truly visionary, and long overdue, methodology that puts these tools in the hands of our subjects and locates the site of our research in the process, rather than the product, of creative exploration.

As an educational researcher and teacher, I consider this book a landmark and essential text for anyone interested in qualitative research and the study of identity.


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