Visual sociology has been part of the sociological vocabulary since the 1970s, but until now there has not been a comprehensive text that introduces this area. Written by one of the founding fathers in the field, Visual Sociology explores how the world that is seen, photographed, drawn, or otherwise represented visually is different from the world that is represented through words and numbers.

Doug Harper’s exceptional photography and engaging, lively writing style will introduce:

  • visual sociology as embodied observation
  • visual sociology as semiotics
  • visual sociology as an approach to data: empirical, narrative, phenomenological and reflexive
  • visual sociology as an aspect of photo documentary
  • visual sociology and multimedia.

This definitive textbook is made up of eleven chapters on the key topics in visual sociology. With teaching and learning guidance, as well as clear, accessible explanations of current thinking in the field, this book will be an invaluable resource to all those with an interest in visual sociology, research methods, cultural geography, cultural theory or visual anthropology.

chapter |7 pages


chapter Chapter 1|10 pages

Visual ethnography

chapter Chapter 2|21 pages

Documentary photography

chapter Chapter 3|17 pages


chapter Chapter 5|23 pages

Comparing societies

chapter Chapter 7|14 pages

Multimedia and visual sociology

chapter Chapter 8|33 pages

Photo elicitation

chapter Chapter 9|19 pages


chapter Chapter 10|36 pages

Teaching sociology visually

chapter Chapter 11|3 pages

Final words