The ethnographic and engaged diary seeing the margins of society through « participative observation »

Diaries of society, of graphic reporting and of ethnography : field notes in arts and SHS

The ethnographic and  engaged diary seeing the margins of society through « participative observation »

In the same editorial line that « In the wake of the boat-people » Noëlle Herrenschmidt, carnet de voyage precursor Albin Michel in 1993, Elsie Herberstein published a book on homelessness entitled Come to my house I live outside a trip to the homeless (Jalan Publications, 2004). For her, the book promotes « the transmission of human testimony, especially when the social drama is commonplace » is a venue in the heart of Paris, it collects the testimonies of the poor, on the model of work carried out by Jean-Louis Courtinat from 1993 to 1995 around the social documentary. The method is that of « participant observation » advocated by Malinowski and the Chicago School of Sociology of the 20s, which studies man in his urban and industrial environment. The researcher or artist immersed in social life by sharing the lifestyle of communities in order to understand them better. It takes daily notes, in the form of images or texts that foster a relationship of immediacy.The ethnologist the bottom in a group he learns the language and customs in order to transcribe as is « gross » in some way, in order to gather the material as objective as possible. In this position, the ethnographer becomes almost a member of the society he is studying and so, perhaps, he is stripped of all its a priori. In this approach can add the rendered document that conveys the feeling through the narrative, that is to say « what the viewer would feel to be a true witness of the scene. » The temptation is strong to the author to turn to photojournalism, sometimes perceived by the reader in some travel books. Damien Roudeau [1], which won the Grand Prix at the 2002 Report Biennial travel book, explicit effect his approach:

« The theme of my work continues to build in this space outside where I try to be, always the doubt inherent in participant observation: is what I witness what I saw, or is -I saw the margin to testify? Consider the margin is to reveal some truth zones, areas often neglected or considered as known.  »

It does indeed share the lives of members of the Emmaus community rag in his book entitled From bits and pieces: one year of sharing with fellow (Word and Silence, 2006). As part of this relationship, the travel book follows the evolution of anthropology became non-exotic and thus focuses circles close [2]; ethnology door effect today otherness social

Pascale Argod

Enseignante PRCE à l'université de Bordeaux (ESPE d'Aquitaine) et chercheuse au sein de l'équipe du MICA (2246 - Médiation, information, communication, art ) de l'université de Bordeaux Montaigne, requalifiée en SIC (2010 - 2018 par le Conseil national des universités), Docteur en sciences de l'information et de la communication.

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