International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

From Passive to Active Voice: Using Photography as a Catalyst for Social Action
Susan Griebling, Lisa M. Vaughn, Britteny Howell, Catherine Ramstetter, Debora Dole

Researchers often find themselves in a position of “acting for” or “in the name of” individuals and communities whose voices have traditionally been muted or silenced. The passive nature of these muted or silenced voices prevents them from being heard, fully understood or appreciated. As true voices of participants emerge in research, so does a more representative view of individuals’ or community’s strengths and concerns. Photography can be used in various forms as a catalyst for participatory research especially in partnership with people whose voices have been silenced in contemporary societies. This manuscript explores a variety of photographic methodologies and discusses their use as mechanisms to directly document, investigate, evaluate, uncover, elicit, challenge and empower in collaboration with participants and community members. They have been organized in order of the level of participation and growth of the community member, with documenting involving the least amount of participation and empowering providing a very high level of participation, input and growth of the participant.

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