5821 - "Participatory video" as an anthropological practice for indigenous studies and empowerment

The paper is a critical reflection of the possibilities of using “participatory video” in anthropological research and in the empowerment of indigenous minorities, based on recent and ongoing fieldwork with “emergent” Indians and other ethnic groups in north-eastern Brazil. “Participatory video” has often been cited as a panacea for overcoming the unbalanced power structures inherent in anthropological research and as a means of giving voice and, consequently, agency to economically and politically underprivileged groups within a dominant society. But a consistent theoretical framework for “participatory video” as an anthropological practice is still to be developed and many successful community video projects lack proper reflection on questions of authorship, intra-community power interests and the limitations and aesthetics inherent in the filmic medium. Video workshops conducted by the author with indigenous and other “emergent” ethnic groups serve as a background for discussing these issues, focusing primarily on the “quest for identity”.

Keywords: visual anthropology, participatory video, Brazilian Indians

Author: Zoettl, Peter Anton (CRIA-IUL, Portugal / Portugal)


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