Identityscapes of a hair salon: Work identities and the value of visual methods
Shortt, H. (2012) Identityscapes of a hair salon: Work identities and the value of visual methods. Sociological Research Online, 17 (2). p. 22. ISSN 1360-7804
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5153/sro.2690
This article considers how one group of workers, hairdressers, use aspects of their material landscape of work as important resources in the production and re-production of their work identities. It shows how the participants of the study use the spaces, objects and things in their workplaces to form a visual narrative of who they are. The article also considers the significance of visual methods in such identity research. It argues for encouraging participants using participant-led photography to choose how to view and arrange their photographs. Participants’ preference for paper analogue prints rather than on-screen digital images allowed them to work with multiple images simultaneously, rather than consecutively, and enabled them to create richer accounts of career development by incorporating time and movement in their stories. The participants’ construction of these ‘identityscapes’, it is argued, can be usefully understood in relation to the concept of ‘photomontages’ developed by the British artist David Hockney.