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The looking machineEssays on cinema, anthropology and documentary filmmaking$
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David MacDougall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134097

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526134097.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Dislocation as method

Dislocation as method

(p.7) 1 Dislocation as method
The looking machine

David MacDougall

Manchester University Press

Research in the sciences, including the social sciences, is usually supposed to be conducted in a systematic way, working from research questions to the gathering of empirical data, to conclusions. But in an analogy drawn from the art of fencing, the author argues for an alternative approach in visual anthropology. Films look at the world differently from the ways we conventionally see, and these differences have optical, social, and structural origins. To overcome these differences, filmmakers may have to voluntarily ‘dislocate’ themselves in order to put themselves in a position to view their subject from a different perspective, and so uncover new knowledge. The argument is supported by a discussion of the realities of ethnographic fieldwork, the processes of filmmaking, and the role of play and improvisation in the arts and other human endeavours.

Keywords:   social sciences, filmmaking, knowledge, methodology, fieldwork

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