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A different way of looking at things: the role of social science film in organization studies

Miko-Schefzig, Katharina and Learmonth, Mark and McMurray, Robert (2022) 'A different way of looking at things: the role of social science film in organization studies.', Organization., 29 (4). pp. 653-672.


Despite growing interest in the use of moving images for representing management and organisation research, films are still widely considered as an addendum to the ‘proper’ textual work of the social sciences. Drawing on our own experience in social science film production, we consider the unique epistemological opportunities afforded by the production of moving images as compared to other methods rooted in the primacy of text. We discuss the techniques of eliciting and editing (by presenting actual editing decisions in detail) as a visual method for organisation studies and its theoretical and methodological implications. We demonstrate the ways in which the act of filming facilitates the production of contextually sensitive life accounts that place participants and viewers in the picture. The main contribution of the paper lies in its explanation of the ways in which film represents epistemic knowledge in itself – a particular way of seeing and relating – without recourse to written material. This includes the potential for film to elicit understanding that could not be accessed or represented in any other way. While not minimising the challenges involved in the production and assessment of social science films, we argue that such films warrant a status similar to that of the journal article.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Date accepted:17 August 2020
Date deposited:01 September 2020
Date of first online publication:08 October 2020
Date first made open access:15 September 2020

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