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Strike a pose! Continuity and change in school class photographs: Shifting representations of education and childhood through time

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-23, 14:22 authored by Merris Griffiths

Using a montage of school class photographs (1885-2015) from a small town in Wales, this article tracks continuity and change relating to how social constructions of ‘education’ and ‘childhood’ are visually represented through time. Drawing on the work of Goffman, compositional codes and conventions are examined, with particular focus on how people, identities and context are depicted, to demonstrate how concepts of ritual equilibrium (the ‘norm’) and ritual disequilibrium (subversion of the ‘norm’) shape particular processes of meaning-making. Analyses demonstrate that standard compositional codes and conventions were established early in the tradition of school class photography and are reiterative, often aligning strongly with the disciplinary mechanism of education. Gender and age emerge as powerful organising agents. Patterns in visual representation reveal how constructions of ‘education’ and ‘childhood’ are shaped by shifts and developments in socio-political thinking, and also reveal how developments in photographic technologies broaden the repertoire of visual storytelling techniques.

History

Publisher

University of Wales Press

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Citation

Griffiths, M. (2023) “Strike a pose! Continuity and change in school class photographs: Shifting representations of education and childhood through time”, Wales Journal of Education. 25(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16922/wje.25.1.5

Print ISSN

2059-3708

Electronic ISSN

2059-3716

Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

Cardiff Met Authors

Merris Griffiths

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors

Language

  • en

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