Opportunities for Analyzing Visual Data in the 21st Century. Report from the 2019 Blankensee-Colloquium on Capturing and Analyzing Social Change
28 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 20, 2019
As the availability of video and photographic content continues to proliferate in societies across the world, the relevance of visual data for researchers in the 21st century increases in kind. Through this Blankensee-Colloquium, held in Berlin in June 2019, an international group of researchers from the fields of sociology, psychology, political sciences, criminology, education research, and computer sciences gathered to discuss the future potentials and challenges of video data research in the social sciences. The drastic growth of visual data in the form of mobile phone, CCTV, body worn camera, and drone footage as well as first-hand videos, many of which are uploaded to online content sharing platforms, has created a tremendous resource for the micro-analysis of situational dynamics and interactions. Not only are many of these data readily accessible to researchers, they allow for significant research transparency and they can provide insights into social interactions that may be difficult to attain using other methods. This report highlights the interdisciplinary and diverse discussions and presentations that took place during the two-day colloquium. It focuses on three aspects in particular that were the broad foci of the workshop and reflect the current state of art, future developments, and a central challenge: the participants’ interdisciplinary perspectives on visual data, automation through software, and ethical concerns.
Keywords: video data, situations, interactions, behavior, methodology, YouTube, computer vision, web scraping, web crawling, emotions, research ethics, CCTV, body cameras, interdisciplinary
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