Visual Data and Sociology

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Sociology is the study of human societies. At the macro-level, sociology studies societies as a whole and their social institutions such as the family, economy, religion, polity, and education. At the micro-level, sociology is concerned with everyday interactions within small social groups.


Cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting organisms. Thus, not only humans have a particular culture. Anything and everything that interacts-animate or inanimate-- forms a society that has a particular culture. Surveys, experiments, ethnography, case-studies, content-analysis are some of the strategies traditionally employed in conducting sociological researches. Results in the application of these strategies form the data for qualitative or quantitative research methods. Beginning in the 1970s, however, and over the following three decades, the social sciences experienced a significant change in their understanding of social life. This change is often described as the 'cultural turn'. That is, 'culture' became a crucial means by which many social scientists understood social processes, social identities, and social change and conflict. In understanding these complexities, Stuart Hall stresses: culture is not so much a set of things - novels and paintings or TV programmes or comics - as a process, a set of practices. Primarily, culture is concerned with the production and exchange of meanings - the 'giving and taking of meaning' - between the members of a society or group Thus culture depends on its participants interpreting meaningfully what is around them, and 'making sense' of the world, in broadly similar ways. ...
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