Seeing is believing: An ethnographer's encounter with television documentary production
Author: Robertson, Rachel
Source: Journal of Media Practice, Volume 3, Number 2, 1 July 2003 , pp. 85-95(11)
Abstract:The subdiscipline of visual anthropology and, more specifically, ethnographic film-making, has always had a complex relationship with the broader field of television documentary production. Anthropological knowledge, approaches and expertise have frequently been used in the production of television documentaries, while many anthropologists have sought to use television as a way to engage a wider audience with their work. But as anthropologists have responded to the changing nature of the world around them, often making refugees, the homeless, celebrities and artists the subjects of their films, it no longer seems clear what distinguishes ethnographic film from much contemporary documentary television. In particular, the term observational is often used to describe both kinds of film-making. My aim is to look critically at this term, and to clarify how, despite a superficial similarity, the approaches and techniques used in television documentary differ significantly from those of ethnographic film.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2003
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