Ways of Seeing the Elephant in the Room: Images and Words

  • Lorenzo Natali
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Green Criminology book series (PSGC)


In this chapter, I describe how photo elicitation can serve as a new source of qualitative data in environmental research and how it is crucial in promoting narratives about social perceptions of contamination. I also explain how photographs are decisive in becoming a reflexive and collaborative “bridge” between subjects and researchers. Furthermore, I suggest that this approach helps (1) to investigate the social perceptions of some transformations of the territory—often highly dramatic, as in the case of polluting plants built close to a town—introduced within a certain socio-environmental context in the course of time; and (2) to place these perceptions within the cultural, symbolical and natural worlds inhabited by the social actors, recognizing the active role of these actors in the construction of their unique experiences.


Ways of seeing Photo elicitation Photographic collage Social perception Environmental victimization Qualitative data 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenzo Natali
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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