Adriano Cancellieri

Comics-based social sciences: characteristics and affordances of an emerging field

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The article analyses the emerging field of comics-based social sciences, which includes extremely diverse experiences in terms of disciplinary background and epistemological approach. The paper emphasises the peculiarities of the language of comics and analyses its affordance for social sciences. Firstly, the focus is on the potential of comics to be an instrument of dissemination but also a research tool that contributes to changing the researcher’s gaze and influencing the data construction process; secondly, the paper highlights the ability of comics to draw attention to material, spatial and temporal aspects and, to some extent, to the intersection between subjective experiences and structural aspects of everyday life; thirdly it investigates on how the language of comics gives great visibility to the framing process that is always constitutive of research work, thus favouring a process of methodological reflexivity and encouraging a critical and active role of the reader; lastly the article analyses how comics encourage the adoption of a narrative approach that gives centrality to the collection and construction of stories, also highlighting the ambivalences and risks of this constitutive characteristic of the language of comics


  • comics-based social sciences
  • visual and multisensorial data
  • ethnographic research and everyday life
  • methodological reflexivity
  • narrative turn


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