How to do sociology with…. iDocs

METHODS LAB Masterclass
30 May 2019
Richard Hoggart Building room 355
Please register at eventbrite

Ella Harris (ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Sociology, Goldsmiths)

I-Docs, or ‘interactive documentaries’ are a new kind of multimedia, digital documentary. Nonlinear in format, they foreground agency, multiplicity and transformation, offering users multiple pathways through their content as well as, often, options to comment and contribute. i-Docs have been made about topics ranging from the Gaza conflict to insomnia, from high rise housing to the prison industry. In each instance, i-Doc makers use the flexible formats of i-Docs to problematize the subjects at hand. Their nonlinear interfaces can contest dominant, singular narratives while foregrounding polyvocality. They can also express time, space and social/political relations in nuanced ways, illuminating, for example, the distorted temporalities of nights spent waiting for sleep, or the fragmented life-worlds and divided spaces wrought by border disputes.

Now established in the commercial arena, i-Docs are increasingly being taken up as academic method. My own doctoral project was one of these early experiments. In this workshop we will explore some commercial i-Docs and I will discuss my own use of i-Docs to explore imaginaries of space-time in London’s pop-up culture. In the second half of the session you will be invited to think about what working with i-Docs might bring to your own research. How could spatial and temporal logics, power dynamics, relations or patterns in the subjects you study be illuminated by i-Docs, and how could they, as interactive interfaces, offer opportunities for engagement and impact?

Where possible, please bring a laptop to look at i-Docs on. Pens and paper will be provided for i-Doc mind-mapping.

Part of the “How to do sociology with…’ series, which explores how we do sociology with specific materials, media, devices, objects and atmospheres, and what happens when these things become the focus of our attention.