Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies

Department

Southern Studies

First Advisor

Jodi Skipper

Second Advisor

Andy Harper

Third Advisor

Ted Ownby

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

This thesis traces my application of critical participatory video scholarship to the development of a teen video documentary course that I facilitated during my graduate school tenure at the Tutwiler Community Education Center in the Mississippi Delta. Since at least the 1960s, documentarians have utilized participatory video methodologies as a way to tackle social issues through a ground-up approach in which community members play a vital role in the production of documentary projects. The development and application of participatory video varies greatly across disciplines including radical documentary filmmaking, visual studies, developmental studies, and emerging social media studies. Over the years, a number of programs have adopted participatory video to work with young people living in marginalized communities, to provoke youth civic engagement and to provide a platform for young people to express themselves. Recent scholarship calls into question the celebratory tone of many youth participatory video projects and examines the viability of the participatory video approach in participatory action research. This criticism considers the complexities of self-representation in visual work made by young people in an adult facilitator led environment and the usefulness of participatory video frameworks in addressing a young person's needs. With this in mind, I explore the limitations of participatory video and also its potential as a tool for social change in the Mississippi Delta.

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