Inge Daniels, Associate Professor in Social Anthropology and Fellow at St Cross College, University of Oxford

Beyond the Frame: An Ethnography of the Amateur Photographic Practices in Contemporary Japan

Based on an ongoing ethnography of amateur photographic practices in Japan, this project aims to question ubiquitous accounts about the negative impact of the Market on social life in capitalist societies. Japan offers an example of a contemporary, industrialized society where a range of businesses, by adhering to a busy ritual calendar, play a crucial role in both facilitating and steering people’s participation in group-affirming activities.

Amateur photography is particularly suited to study this topic as the production, circulation, and consumption of quotidian photographs is inseparable from the commercial and ritual rhythms of everyday life. Photographs are ambiguous objects that cultivate togetherness while allowing for distinctive ways of seeing and (re) positioning oneself in relation to others within and beyond the family. My research will pay particular attention to how ongoing product innovations as well as new technological developments, such as mobile phones with camera functions, and the widespread use of the Internet have enabled particular actors to both challenge and reinvent social practices in accordance with their changing needs and expectations.

All seminars in the series.

This is a joint seminar together with the Media cluster.