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Breaking Down Complex Realities: The Exploration of Children’s Prosocial Actions Using Photographs

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Part of the Theory and History in the Human and Social Sciences book series (THHSS)

Abstract

Images are significant in shaping our understanding of the world around us. A picture has the potential of creating a story where the direction of a narrative is guided by an interface between symbolic meaning of the different perspectives, the picture itself and its viewers. The temporality locked in a picture frames several possible messages about the content and context featured. When a picture relates to human activity, the symbolic elements facilitate the construction of mental images that are used to capture and interpret information from a viewer’s own perspective. Thus, pictures can tell us as much about the featured images as about the viewer. A person’s experiences help to process and supplement an encounter with images to produce a note, a draft or a story. Technological advances have facilitated precision and efficiency in the collection, processing, display and analysis of images.

This chapter deals with research with two-year-old children their home settings in India where multiple caregivers are present. The data is being collected at rural and urban homes in Northern India with a focus on prosocial interactions. With the use of pictures, naturalistic observations, interviews and free play sessions with children, everyday activities of children have been recorded. Digital images used in the study represent commonplace events of prosocial behaviours occurring during family visits for data collection. In the discussion of the research, we will focus on the symbolic character of pictures as a meaning making tool to complement the data collected through other methods. The visual images are being qualitatively analysed for manifested dimensions of prosocial behaviour, familial contexts, social system and also as an integrated whole. The eagerness to use lived experiences of participants’ pictures from the field as data is an attempt to depart from conventional decorative purpose and propose them as a vital source of information.

Keywords

  • Culturally appropriate methods
  • Ethnography
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Childhood
  • Child care

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Gupta, D., Chaudhary, N. (2022). Breaking Down Complex Realities: The Exploration of Children’s Prosocial Actions Using Photographs. In: Watzlawik, M., Salden, S. (eds) Courageous Methods in Cultural Psychology. Theory and History in the Human and Social Sciences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-93535-1_5

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