In the Eye of the Beholder: On Using Photography in Research on Sustainability

By Annelie Sjölander Lindqvist and Petra Adolfsson.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 20, 2015 $US5.00

This study of perspectives and opinions on a Swedish nuclear power plant and an old building in a Swedish city center employed an ethnographic approach. Such methods are found to be applicable to research situations when it is of crucial importance to establish trustworthy relationships with the informants. The use of ethnographic research methods, especially photography, enabled the researchers in the project to collect a wide range of narratives about different matters regarding the role of the sites and buildings in the past, future prospects of the power plant and the old building and their location. By employing qualitative methods, the project aimed at gaining insight into the meaning-building processes of the actors involved and how they made sense of a place that was turned into a locality of energy production and city planning. This paper elaborates on photography as part of an ethnographic approach and the authors argue that photography helps the researchers to extract the seen and unseen as well as values connected to sustainability in the daily life of local actors.

Keywords: Ethnographic Methods, Photography

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 11, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.19-31. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 20, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 607.114KB)).

Dr Annelie Sjölander Lindqvist

Researcher, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Dr. Petra Adolfsson

Researcher, Gothenburg Research Institute, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Goteborg, Sweden