Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grassroots Video and Research

...some thoughts about grassroots video provoked by a presentation today.

Digital communications have provided researchers with a plethora of “public spaces in which marginalized people’s narratives can be heard” with multiple points of contact available. I suspect with the new digital (public) spaces afforded by the availability of technology today, we are increasingly experiencing a shift from researcher or individual control to shared control, where the audience, spectator, participant or community at large has significant influence and voice on the impact of narrative inquiry. It is this shared control that delivers the narrative or message to those who need to hear it. I believe we should ask the question, how can the audience co-participate or share in public spaces in which marginalized people’s narratives can be heard even those who normally do not want to hear them?

The researcher needs to consider how the audience can play a significant role in contributing to collective action or participate in social change. Using the example of a YouTube video, personally, I will immediately view a YouTube video highly recommended by someone I know. For example, every time an audience member views a video clip, provides a review of the clip, emails the clip (or link) to someone else with a personal endorsement, discusses the clip with others in a social networking site, or tags the clip - it is the audience that shares in the voice with the researcher and it is the audience that engages and contributes to social change by networking with others and making connections. Hence, Chase (2008) observes that “we need to think more broadly about whom we write for and speak to – and how we do so” (p.84).

Chase, S. (2008). Narrative Inquiry: Multiple Lenses, Approaches, Voices. In Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials. N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc

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