A reflexive report on filmmaking within a linguistic ethnography with deaf and hearing people in Mumbai

by Annelies Kusters, Sujit Sahasrabudhe and Amaresh Gopalakrishnan

Working Papers WP 16-04
September 2016
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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This working paper documents the process of using video within a research project that documents communicative strategies used during customer interactions and informal conversations between deaf and hearing interlocutors in Mumbai. Since these interactions involve the use of spontaneous and conventional gestures, a visual form of communicating, the use of video was central to the project, including the production of a 80-minute ethnographic ethnographic film called ‘Ishaare: Gestures and Signs in Mumbai’. The aim of producing Ishaare was two-fold: firstly, the film was part of the methodology since it was used as a discussion tool, and secondly, the film is key to the project’s dissemination strategy. In addition to the ethnographic film film, three more videos were produced within the framework of this project to document the process of creating Ishaare.

In this working paper, the main investigator and the two research assistants discuss the research process and the process of producing the ethnographic film, including reflection on project aims; positionality of the researchers; selection of research participants; training of cameramen; cooperation of the team; conduction of interviews; transcribing, translating, and analysing data; and structuring, editing, and subtitling Ishaare. In the last section, the paper discusses the way Ishaare was received by different discussion groups in Mumbai.



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