Picturing translocal matters in a mobile world: Photography as a method of ethnographic research at a Japanese gathering in Berlin

Julia Gerster, Natalia Morokhova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using photo sessions in combination with three in-depth interviews at a Japanese party called Ankokai in Berlin, we explore how the method of photography along with the participant’s choice of personal objects in the photographs positively influences narrative interviews. Literally meaning “red bean paste meeting”, the Ankokai was originally used as a way for the Japanese gay community to meet in Berlin but nowadays attracts people from all kinds of backgrounds. Keeping the ethnographic research method in mind, our underlying research question asks how translocal categories of migration are reflected in the participants’ choices of personal objects in the photographs. Although larger studies are required to verify this claim, we found that photography can be a strong tool for enacting reciprocity and building rapport in ethnographic research. Furthermore, the participants’ choices of personal objects for these pictures support powerful personal narratives as the research participants’ active participation in the photo session enabled them to reflect on their experiences of migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-173
Number of pages24
JournalContemporary Japan
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 2
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Japan
  • LGBTQ+
  • Translocality
  • ethnography
  • fieldwork
  • migration
  • photography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies

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