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Introduction to Interpretive Videoanalysis of Social Situations

Hubert Knoblauch, René Tuma and Bernt Schnettler

This book provides an overview of the current state of video analysis, including the most recent developments in this rapidly growing field. It covers various methodological approaches. The authors address practical and technical questions and potential problems arising during the research process. The book also offers a perspective on the theoretical embedding of videography in the interpretive approaches to social research. It comes equipped with detailed, user-friendly aids, including suggestions for further reading, technical pointers, and case studies. The book will be particularly useful for social researchers interested in the collection and analysis of video data on natural interactions and in sociological ethnography.
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Preface to the English Edition


The title of this book, ‘Videography’, is short. What it develops and builds upon is only slightly longer. In comparison to the century-old tradition of analyzing texts, the interpretation of video data has a relatively brief history. This has to be kept in mind when analysing video data, for the methodical sophistication in video analysis is still at a preliminary level. Videography today is among the most recent of approaches in qualitative social research and its development as a method is far from perfect. Indeed, it raises a number of issues which still need to be solved. For example, the existence of adequate publication formats for presenting videographic study results is certainly one issue, yet this may not even be the most pressing one.

Dispite these drawbacks, over the past 25 years or so, video in qualitative research has substantially developed as a new and rapidly growing approach. Our own work is part of this stimulating field within the social sciences. For more than a decade, our efforts have been increasingly directed towards elaborating a set of practical guidelines for conducting qualitative studies in video data. These are based on extensive first hand experiences gained from a number of rather diverse projects that range from religious performances to powerpoint presentations, street markets to hospitals and service interaction to memory rituals (to name a few) within which we highlight that video may be a useful tool to illuminate important aspects.

Our work is firmly rooted...

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