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Sandboxes, psychoanalysis and participatory practice: Refiguring therapeutic techniques as ethical visual research methods

Mannay, Dawn and Edwards, Victoria 2015. Sandboxes, psychoanalysis and participatory practice: Refiguring therapeutic techniques as ethical visual research methods. Presented at: British Sociological Association Annual Conference, Glasgow, UK, 15-17 April 2015.

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Abstract

Visual images within social science research have become ubiquitous as the field has witnessed an increasing move towards visual and creative methods of data production; employing photographs, collages, film and walking narratives. However, some techniques of visual data production remain pariah sites because of their association with psychoanalysis and therapeutic work. There is a reluctance to engage with psychoanalytically informed approaches outside of therapy based settings and criticisms that doing so raises a number of ethical issues around the welfare of participants. This paper draws on ‘the world technique’ in which participants create three-dimensional scenes, pictures or abstract designs in a tray filled with sand employing a wide range of miniature, realistic and fantasy, figures and small everyday objects. The paper presents data from a study exploring the journeys of marginalised, non-traditional, mature students in higher education, in Wales UK, to illustrate the potential of the sandbox for engaging with participants’ subjective worlds and gaining a more nuanced understanding of the student experience. The paper discusses the usefulness of the ‘world technique’ as a tool of qualitative research as well as reflecting on the associated difficulties with the method; arguing that a reluctance to engage with psychoanalytically informed approaches outside of therapy based settings could preclude a more nuanced understanding of participants subjective lived experience. The paper argues that the ‘the world technique’ can be both a valuable and an ethical tool of qualitative inquiry that allows participants an opportunity to share their subjective understandings through the medium of metaphors.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
T Technology > TR Photography
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visual Methodologies; Sandboxing; The World Technique
Funders: CUROP
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2019 20:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/69103

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