Three Gazes. The Visual Sociology of Simmel, Collins and Bourdieu

Uliano Conti


The article proposes three perspectives for considering images in sociology, with particular references to Georg Simmel, Randall Collins, Pierre Bourdieu and to their relations with the theme of imaginary. For the German scholar visual perception is linked to a micro-sociological way of knowing society. For the American scholar image could generate interaction ritual and group solidarity. Furthermore, Collins – laying on a simmelian approach and paying attention to micro-sociological contexts – proposes image as an heuristic element in social research. Bourdieu adopts a different approach: photography is a language that reveals class relations. Photographs constitute an empirical basis for analyzing expressions of class structure. Finally, the article allows to consider visual sociology as a scientific area for the imagery analysis. 


visual sociology; sociological theory; methodology; methodology; photography

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