Over the last
decade, participatory video has become more popular as a participatory
methodology for practitioner-researchers wanting to include overlooked and
hidden perspectives. Participatory video can give voice and
representation to marginalised communities, and help connect and build new relationships and social dynamics between individuals,
groups and wider public. However, there are a number of intrinsic
tensions and ethical considerations in the participatory video process. And
who is actually watching and listening to these participatory videos, and what
is the real-world influence of video-mediated dialogue?
In this paper, we
propose that participatory video can contribute to building agonistic
pluralism, namely a recognition of the unavoidable tensions between
perspectives, and maintaining, rather than erasing difference when working
towards positive change. We draw on our comparable experience of using
participatory video methodologies within conservation and development to
consider how it can be used to progressively build agency and deeper
criticality, and to navigate between building collectively for political
leverage and addressing difference between stakeholders across communities.
A key message of
the paper is that navigating between interests and intrinsic tensions requires
longer-term and iteratively evolving processes of participatory video, rather
than a short-term production method.
We also discuss
the contribution of participatory video to building dialogue between
communities and influential decision makers given the discriminatory norms and
intractable social dynamics that maintain inequalities in the context of
Using an agonistic
pluralist approach can enable practitioner-researchers wanting to apply
participatory video more effectively and ethically to reflect on their
intentions, processes and outcomes.