More recently, however, a branch of sociology known as visual sociology has flourished. Visual sociology usually has one of two major concerns. Much of it uses photography (and increasingly video and film) as a research tool to facilitate the gathering of data. Alternatively, visual images may be used as data in their own right, usually as part of a sociological study of culture, in which film and other artefacts may be examined, often with the aid of semiotics. The recent work of the American interactionist Howard Becker illustrates both developments, pioneering the role of photography in sociology (discussed in his book Doing Things Together, 1986), and observing the nature of art work (in his Art Worlds, 1980). Good overviews of these blossoming interests are to be found in Jon Wagner ( ed.) , Images of Information (1979)
, and Douglas Harper 's essay on ‘Visual Sociology’, in Grant Blank et al. ( eds.) . New Technology in Sociology (1989)
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