The sociological imagination of modernity is entangled with our senses and, primarily, with vision, yet the process of being able to see something is often extraordinarily complex. Marx’s attempt to visualise commodities, Durkheim on totems of religious life, Simmel on money and the metropolis, Elias on social taste, are all projects which attempt to see beyond the empirical and into levels of abstraction and immateriality that lie beyond the senses. Visualisation is part of the making of modernity and a response to it.
This series explores and elaborates upon our experiences of modernity. It offers ways of seeing from the margins of our world and from its exemplary sites of industry and urbanisation. Grand narratives of human history mix with micro-histories that are embedded across our globe. Using multi-disciplinary methods, it seeks to expand upon our knowledge of global and local visual cultures, whether in architecture, painting, film, photography, theatre, film and other cultural forms. Examining the material and the tangible as well as the immaterial and the imaginary it aims to offer the best of sociological thinking and thought: literally re-visioning our social world.
Visual Modernities welcomes new studies that have visualisation at their heart and embed new ways of perceiving our shared world and our multiple and complex experience of modernity. It seeks to publish works that are innovative, multi-disciplinary in scope and which challenge and rupture the classical social sciences with new ways of looking at method, theory and our social futures.
Martyn Hudson is Lecturer in Art and Design History at Northumbria University, UK, teaching on the Creative and Cultural Management Masters programme. He is the author of The Slave Ship, Memory and the Origins of Modernity, Species and Machines and Ghosts, Landscapes and Social Memory.