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IVSA, San Francisco, 11-13 August 2004 White man, black neighbourhood: 30 years of photography Dr Max Farrar School of Social Science Leeds Metropolitan University, UK m.farrar@leedsmet.ac.uk. Theoretical framework. My sociology: structures and interactions

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IVSA, San Francisco, 11-13 August 2004

White man, black neighbourhood: 30 years

of photography

Dr Max Farrar

School of Social Science

Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

m.farrar@leedsmet.ac.uk

theoretical framework
Theoretical framework
  • My sociology: structures and interactions
    • Structures of alienation, exclusion, oppression
    • Human subjects in value-driven social interactions
    • Marx/Weber/Sartre/Levinas
  • My inner-city, multi-ethnic photography:
    • Negotiating/reducing social distance; photography as a social relationship
    • Representing the possibilities for ethical, inclusive social relationships
1970s politics is personal
1970s: politics is personal
  • Self: white, twenty-something, graduate student, middle class, male, libertarian socialist
  • The Others: South Asian, African-Caribbean, white European, all ages, male, female, all ages, all politics
  • Black Power militants || “White radicals” “missionaries”
  • Photography (for Chapeltown News): distance (in spatial/social relations)
linton kwesi johnson dub poet uhuru arts event at cowper street school chapeltown leeds june 1974
Linton Kwesi Johnson, dub poetUhuru Arts event at Cowper Street School, Chapeltown, Leeds, June 1974
the 1980s personal politics
The 1980s: personal politics
  • Self: still white, now thirty-something, local legal advice worker, plenty of cultural capital, not much economic capital, male but pro-feminist, lib-soc but losing faith
  • The Others: as before; but segmenting, communal politics is growing
  • For some, new personal and political alliances develop, across ethnic boundaries
  • Photography: campaigning (distance); and personal (in closer)
1990s 21 st c post sociology the radical politics of representation
1990s, 21st C . . . post-sociology; the radical politics of representation
  • Thatcher/Regan: the dominance of narcissistic individualism
  • The new radical politics of ethical, embodied subjectivity
  • “The photographer’s assistants”; and our children: bridging social distance
  • Levinas’ ethics: responsibility for the Other is called up by his/her face
  • Social documentary photography as an incitement to ethical responsibility
children families friendships sarah ros michelle claudia rose our house september 1990
Children, families, friendshipsSarah, Ros, Michelle, Claudia, Rose, our house, September 1990
levinas an ethics called into play by the encounter with a human face
Levinas: an ethics called into play by the encounter with a human face

“The presentation of the face puts me in relation with being. The existing of this being . . . Is effectuated in the non-postponable urgency with which he (sic) requires a response. The face in its nakedness as a face presents to me the destitution of the poor one and the stranger . . . [who] presents himself as an equal . . . It is my responsibility before a face looking at me . . . that constitutes the original fact of fraternity . . . Equality is produced where the other commands the same and reveals himself to the same in responsibility . . . It cannot be detached from the welcoming of the face . . . Society must be a fraternal community to be commensurate with the straightforwardness, the primary proximity, in which the face presents itself to my welcome.”

Levinas, E ‘Useless Suffering’ in Bernasconi, R and Woods, D (eds) (1988) The Provocation of Levinas, London: Routledge

slide13
Culture T, Community Radio DeeJay Making photo opportunities, an apartment in Chapeltown, September 1989
academic narcissism
Academic narcissism . . .

My book:

The Struggle for ‘Community’ in a British Multi-Ethnic Inner-city Area (Edwin Mellen, 2002)

My web-site:

www.maxfarrar.org.uk