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Data and documentaries: Methodological hybridizations in activism

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Hybridization permeates all fields of communication: documentaries are no exception. One example is The Left-to-Die Boat by Forensic Architecture (FA), an audio-visual account of how 63 refugees lost their lives in 2011 when their ship was adrift in the waters of Libya. The Left-to-Die Boat combines documentary techniques with data analysis and visualizations to expose a tragedy, change migration policies and sustain court cases. Based on critical data and documentary studies, this article inspects the methodological hybridization proposed by FA in six documentaries. The questions are: how does FA hybridize? What are the outcomes of this hybridization? What is hybridization today? The analysis links these documentaries’ characteristics with functions and outcomes, offering a taxonomy that can be employed beyond this study. The findings indicate that activism is taking multidimensional forms, blurring the boundaries separating documentaries, data science and art in search of impact.
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Keywords: activism; big data; documentary; human rights; hybridization; methodologies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000109417046University of Deusto

Publication date: October 1, 2020

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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