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Alterity, cultural expressions of the sensible world and reality constructions - old questions, new approaches


Between 1999 and 2002 our research team carried out the project "Image in Focus in the Social Sciences (FAPESP 1997/11.810-9) that focused on three major areas of research: image analysis, image production and image cataloging. The research project we are now sending to FAPESP tries to deal with the theoretical and methodological questions raised by the earlier project in relation to video and photographic production; italso sets out some other issues that we want to deal with in the next four years. In this new proposal our research will address some fundamental questions in the social sciences. Although these questions are part of the history of some of disciplines that make up the social sciences, such as anthropology and sociology, a new dimension is introduced when they are considered in the light of the new technologies available for dealing with image and sound, such as video, CD-ROM, DVD, digital photography and photography itself. Our various projects will investigate particular topics and empirical universes within a theoretical and methodological framework here outlined: Translations of Alteritywe want to question the interpretative activity of social scientists and of research subjects. Social scientists try to understand and translate the social universes under study (cultures, social groups, etc) through different media. At the same time the people being studied try to get hold of these media, and to get familiar with communication technology. This in turn has consequences for their self presentation. How can we understand and translate the other? These were already important issues when the main means of representation was through writing. The question now is what further implications can arise from the use of other media such as video, DVD, CD-ROM? We will try to answer these questions not only through discussions, seminars and articles, but also by producing knowledge in the form of audiovisual media which uses these new multimedia technologies including the internet. Cultural Expressions of the Sensible World - What are the ways of producing, acquiring, organizing, transmitting and recovering knowledge in different cultures? What is the relation between perception and cognition of the world and the different forms of artistic expression? What is the role of memory in these processes?... (AU)

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