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Ethical Research Involving Children

Ethics, voices and visual methods.

Wood, E. (2015). Ethics, voices and visual methods. In Stirling, E. & Yamada-Rice, D. (Eds.). Visual Methods with Children and Young People. Studies in Childhood and Youth. (pp.129_139). Palgrave Macmillan: London. ISBN: 978-1-137-40228-8; e-book ISBN: 978-1-137-40229-5.

Abstract: The inextricable relationship between research ethics and visual methods is clearly defined throughout this book, and is demonstrated in Chapter 10 (Emese Hall) and Chapter 11 (Melanie Hall, Kate Pahl and Steve Pool). This relationship has been forged across a number of social sciences disciplines, including Sociology, Anthropology and Education, as well as the Creative Arts. More specifically, the Sociology of Childhood has become a field of study in its own right (James and James, 2004), reflecting changing theoretical conceptions of how children and childhoods are understood. The concept of ‘the universal child’ has been contested, alongside critical engagement with issues of ‘voice’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘agency’. Children are understood as social actors who engage with and experience their social, (im)material and cultural worlds on their own terms, and are co-constituted by matter and discourse in complex networks (Lenz-Taguchi, 2010) that reflect the cultural politics of childhood (Saltmarsh, 2014). Their perspectives may be unique as well as culturally shared and distributed across time, places, spaces and events in their lives. Contemporary conceptions of childhoods have influenced ethics, methodologies and methods, paralleled by the growing interest in visual (re)presentations as authentic means by which children’s lives can be understood and told. Visual methods and (re)presentations are contributing significantly to new ways of understanding children’s work and play lives, friendships, emotions, spatialities and rights (Kearns, 2012; Nicholson et al., 2014; Procter, 2013). (Abstract reproduced with permission © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2015).

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