Lost in translation: exploring childhood identity using photo-elicitation

Cooper, Victoria L. (2017). Lost in translation: exploring childhood identity using photo-elicitation. Children's Geographies, 15(6) pp. 625–637.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2017.1284306


Photo-elicitation is recognised as a visual method which can enhance children’s participation in research and is responsive to childhood experiences. This paper reports on a participatory study which employed photo-elicitation and examines what this method can reveal about research designed to explore children’s identity. Twenty children (6–10 years) were given a digital camera to take pictures ‘all about me’ at home and an after-school club. In addition, parents and practitioners participated in semi-structured interviews. This paper considers the materiality of photo-elicitation and describes the different ways in which children build narratives using photographs as interview prompts. Despite the capacity for photo-elicitation to enable children to take pictures of material things which forge connections to embodied, affective and routine identity processes, this paper critically examines how photographs as material things are made sense of and potentially translated within social practices bounded by power dynamics.

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