Migrant mothers: family photographs and the intra-active fashioning of a visual-material ethics

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Pitt, Penelope ORCID: 0000-0002-4869-836X Migrant mothers: family photographs and the intra-active fashioning of a visual-material ethics. In: International Visual Sociology Association Annual Conference 2013: The Public Image, 08 July 2013-10 July 2013, University of London, England. (Unpublished)


Migrant mothers play crucial roles within the social landscape of schools, particularly in providing care, education and a transition between home and school for their children. My research considers the relevance of theories of space, place, temporality and mobility in Iranian migrant mothers’ production of subjectivity for themselves and their children in and through their family photograph collections. Gillian Rose’s anthropological approach to visual objects is put to use in an exploration of the co-constitution of migrant women and their photographs. In this paper, I trace the shaping of a visual-material ethics within the research context and appropriate to the sensibilities and needs of the participant women who each moved from Iran to Australia with their children. Karen Barad’s notion of a posthumanist ‘ethics of mattering’ is drawn upon in conceptualising a visual-material ethics as fashioned in the intra-actions of people and visual objects. Specific ethical issues considered include the collaborative process of producing a family photograph, and the shaping and reshaping of images from photograph to line drawing to hybridised photograph-line drawing. A research ethics committee’s application of a liberal individualist, utilitarian and positivist biomedical paradigm in considering the research project is discussed as not only inadequate but also incompatible with the fashioning of a visual-material ethics in concert with the participant women and their photographs.

Additional Information

Extract of paper published in IVSA 2013 : The Public Image : Program of the International Visual Sociology Association 2013 Annual Conference

Item type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/31286
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords Migrant mothers; Photographs; Family; Ethics
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