Gubrium co-authors book on visual and digital methodologies

April 8, 2013

Photo: Aline Gubrium (left) and Krista Harper

Aline Gubrium, Assistant Professor of Community Health Education, has co-authored a book titled Participatory Visual and Digital Methods with Krista Harper, an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA). The book, published by Left Coast Press, will be available in April 2013.

In Participatory Visual and Digital Methods, Gubrium and Harper describe how visual and digital methodologies can contribute to a participatory, public-engaged ethnography. These methods can change the traditional relationship between academic researchers and the community, building one that is more accessible, inclusive, and visually appealing, and one that encourages community members to reflect and engage in issues in their own communities. The authors describe how to use Photovoice, film and video, digital storytelling, GIS, digital archives and exhibits in participatory contexts, and include numerous case studies demonstrating their utility around the world.

Gubrium uses participatory, digital, visual, narrative and ethnographic methods to study the sexual and reproductive health knowledge and decision-making of marginalized women and youth. She has conducted research with African-American women living in a southern rural community, women using Depo-Provera and other long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, and Latino/a youth from Holyoke and Springfield in addressing barriers to sexual communication and sexuality education. Her research is driven by the question of how research participants view, make sense of, and respond to their sexual and reproductive health experiences.

As an ethnographer, Harper explores issues related to the cultural politics of the environment, cities, and food systems. She is the author of Wild Capitalism: Environmental Activists and Post-socialist Political Ecology in Hungary (2006). Harper has led projects using participatory digital research methods such as Photovoice to study environmental issues in a Hungarian Roma neighborhood, school food programs with youth in western Massachusetts, and civic organizations working on urban gardens both nationally and globally.

The CPPA will host a book launch party on Wednesday, April 17 at 5 p.m. in the Gordon Hall Atrium to celebrate the publication of Participatory Visual and Digital Methods. The event is open to the general public.