Capturing Nordic Identifications Through Participatory Photography

  • Solveig CornérEmail author
  • Maria Forsius
  • Gunilla Holm
  • Harriet Zilliacus
  • Elisabet Öhrn
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 861)


This study explores how participatory photography can be used in researching upper secondary students’ identifications with what it means to live in one of four Nordic countries. The study draws on students’ constructions and interpretations of photographs. For this article the data analyzed consisted of 571 photographs taken during spring 2018 by a total of 104 students in the metropolitan areas in Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. The analysis of the photographs and their captions show that students associated themselves mostly in a positive way with the Nordic region, though also some critical attitudes were identified. Visual ethnography in education as a method enhanced the upper secondary students’ way of giving meaning to what living in the Nordic countries means to them. Moreover, the method enables the students to become co-researchers together with the research team in both an aesthetic and narrative way. The study offers insights into how participatory photography can be as a useful and activating method in both local and cross-national research.


Participatory photography Identification Upper secondary students Nordic region 



This research was supported by the Nordic Centre of Excellence ‘Justice through Education’ financed by NordForsk grant # 57741.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Education and Special EducationUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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