A different way of looking at things: The role of social science film in organisation studies

Katharina Miko-Schefzig, Mark Learmonth, Robert McMurray

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Despite growing interest in the use of moving images for representing management and organisation research, films are still widely considered as an addendum to the ‘proper’ textual work of the social sciences. Drawing on our own experience in social science film production, we consider the unique epistemological opportunities afforded by the production of moving images as compared to other methods rooted in the primacy of text. We discuss the techniques of eliciting and editing (by presenting actual editing decisions in detail) as a visual method for organisation studies and its theoretical and methodological implications. We demonstrate the ways in which the act of filming facilitates the production of contextually sensitive life accounts that place participants and viewers in the picture. The main contribution of the paper lies in its explanation of the ways in which film represents epistemic knowledge in itself – a particular way of seeing and relating – without recourse to written material. This includes the potential for film to elicit understanding that could not be accessed or represented in any other way. While not minimising the challenges involved in the production and assessment of social science films, we argue that such films warrant a status similar to that of the journal article.
Translated title of the contributionEine andere Art auf Sozialität zu schauen: Die Rolle des sozialwissenschaftlichen Films für die Organisationsforschung
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653–672
Issue number4
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 504001 General sociology
  • 504007 Empirical social research
  • 504
  • 504024 Sociology of law
  • 504014 Gender studies
  • 507021 Urban history


  • Social science film, organization, visual methods

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