This collection of original articles deals with two intertwined general questions: what is the visual sphere, and what are the means by which we can study it sociologically? These questions serve as the logic for dividing the book into two sections, the first ("Visualizing the Social, Sociologizing the Visual") focuses on the meanings of the visual sphere, and the second ("New Methodologies for Sociological Investigations of the Visual") explores various sociological research methods to getting a better understanding of the visual sphere. We approach the visual sphere sociologically because we regard it as one of the layers of the social world. It is where humans produce, use, and engage with the visual in their creation and interpretation of meanings. Under the two large inquiries into the "what" and the "how" of the sociology of the visual sphere, a subset of more focused questions is being posed: what social processes and hierarchies make up the visual sphere? How various domains of visual politics and visuality are being related (or being presented as such)? What are the relations between sites and sights in the visual research? What techniques help visual researcher to increase sensorial awareness of the research site? How do imaginaries of competing political agents interact in different global contexts and create unique, locally-specific visual spheres? What constitutes competing interpretations of visual signs? The dwelling on these questions brings here eleven scholars from eight countries to share their research experience from variety of contexts and sites, utilizing a range of sociological theories, from semiotics to post-structuralism.
1. Sociology of the Visual Sphere: Introduction Regev Nathansohn and Dennis Zuev Part I: Visualizing the Social, Sociologizing the Visual 2. The Limits of the Visual in the "War Without Witness" Pavithra Tantrigoda 3. From a Slight Smile to Scathing Sarcasm: Shades of Humor in Israeli Photojournalism Ayelet Kohn 4. Sociology of Iconoclasm: Distrust of Visuality in the Digital Age Łukasz Rogowski 5.Picturing ‘Gender’: Iconic Figuration, Popularization, and the Contestation of a Key Discourse in the New Europe Anna Schober Part II: New Methodologies for Sociological Investigations of the Visual 6. Production of Solidarities in YouTube: A Visual Study of Uyghur Nationalism Matteo Vergani and Dennis Zuev 7. On the Visual Semiotics of Collective Identity in Urban Vernacular Spaces Timothy Shortell and Jerome Krase 8. Representing Perception: Integrating Photo-Elicitation and Mental Maps in the Study of Urban Landscape Valentina Anzoise and Cristiano Mutti 9. Operations of Recognition: Seeing Urbanising Landscapes with the Feet Christian von Wissel