Summary: In this clip "Polly", a 65 year old woman from the Midlands in the UK, recalls the time as a child when her parents sat her down and asked her which of them she wanted to be with. Her story, re-narrated by three players, represents how this traumatic event became an enduring memory throughout the various stages of her life. This video exhibits how sociologists can draw upon biography and narrative to explore any number of sociological concepts; in this particular clip, Polly's narration of her own biography can be used to explore sociological understandings of memory, emotion, family, and the life course. For example, the clip could be useful in a class on cognitive sociology, highlighting how cognitive processes, such as memory, are shaped by socio-cultural events, such as divorce. In addition to using the clip as a way to interrogate biography and narrative as sociological methods of research, the clip could also be a nice launching pad from which to introduce an assignment where students create their own videos, using their own biographical narratives as a window through which to explore larger sociological phenomena, much in the way C.W. Mills suggested. The clip's Vimeo webpage provides production details about the video, as well as a link to a paper by Kip Jones, the video's writer and producer, "The Art of Collaborative Storytelling: Arts-Based Representations of Narrative Contexts," which tells more about Polly's story and Jones' method. Kip Jones describes the clip as an "experiment in visualisation of research data."
Submitted By: Kip Jones