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Collaborative video production as method, process and text in participatory action research


This dissertation examines how collaborative video production (CVP) can act as method, process, and text for exploring group dynamics and the construction of self-and social representations in a community action program. I trace the temporal development of a CVP project that grew organically over two years as I participated with Project Safe Way, a local resident-led safety organization in Southeastern San Diego, a marginalized and underserved neighborhood. By the end of the research process, PSW and I produced a produced a short promotional video of the group. Adopting a participatory action research-based and narrative-based design, the project took place in four sequential and overlapping stages : 1) gaining entry, 2) collecting personal narratives, 3) editing final product, 4) and video afterlife. Discussing and analyzing each stage, I seek to illustrate how collaborative video production projects have the potential for revealing multiple levels of understanding of how small groups construct identities and represent themselves. Importantly, I wish to demonstrate how video-making can act as a stable, crystallizing tool for unveiling group dynamics which may have otherwise remained invisible to the researcher, and are only possible after moments of reflexivity over time. There is a long history in academia of looking at small groups and addressing questions of identity and representation, and more contemporarily, of ethnographers seeking to do so in more collaborative and reflexive ways. Digital media tools, particularly video-making in this current case, provide opportunities for collaborating, analyzing, and intervening in and with small groups in novel ways. CVP projects provide opportunities for building mutually beneficial relationships between researchers and participants

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