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Elever erfar och representerar världen visuellt. En utforskande studie om hur mellanstadieelever skapar mening genom fotografi

Publicerad:4 mars
Uppdaterad:6 maj

Hur skapar elever mening när de erfar och representerar världen genom fotografi? Det är en av frågorna som Maria Söderling undersöker i sin avhandling.


Maria Söderling


Docent Lotta Bergman, Malmö universitet. Professor Fredrik Lindstrand, Konstfack


Sylvana Sofkova Hashemi, Göteborgs universitet

Disputerat vid

Malmö universitet



Abstract in English

Placed within language and literature didactics this qualitative practice-based study with a multimodal perspective aims to explore the potentials for meaning-making through photography.

Despite that, the digitization of society has facilitated access to various modes of meaning-making and has had a major impact on how we communicate and learn, new possibilities for meaning-making using for example film or photography are poorly explored in both research and education. This justifies a broad aim and an explorative study. In aiming for an explorative methodology, cooperation was initiated with a group of interested teachers, and the design of the cooperation and the data collection was inspired by educational design research. Meaning-making processes through photography, editing, and discussions about photographs were explored with pupils aged 10-12 years in social science, religion, Swedish, Swedish as a second language, and English. The data comprises video documentation, observational notes, and the pupils’ photographs (and some films). The pupils used apps on iPads as tools for taking photographs and editing.

A central concept in the study is affordance. The analysis focuses on what affordances for meaning-making pupils realize in their photographs and edited images and in literacy events when they take photographs, as well as edit and discuss photographs. With an ambition to contribute to a deeper understanding of the interplay between literacy events and realized affordances used for meaning-making an analytical model is created and used in the study based on social semiotic theory. The key for this model is the literacy event as an analytical unit within which semiosis as an iterative movement is emphasized. These literacy events are also analyzed with a focus on how the pupils move between different positions and perspectives.

An important finding is that pupils show a high level of agency in using different semiotic resources. Affordances related to both the materiality of the photograph as a 2d, static, and stable representation as well as abstract affordances as different kinds of relations between the inner interpretation and the photograph (iconic, symbolic, and indexical) and semiotic resources as boundaries and the negative space are realized. The meaning-making processes that occur when the pupils take photographs and edit are characterized by a high level of physical and cognitive motion, in contrast to the meaning-making processes when the pupils are supposed to discuss the photographs. However, in some situations, the type of questions posed by the teacher seem to contribute to more motion in this meaning-making process leading to an exploration of different possibilities to see with the help of other pupils’ utterances.

The study contributes to the development of the research field of language and literature didactics by exploring meaning-making through photography, and the use of the literacy event as the analytical focus in exploring potentials for meaning-making. Besides that, it is argued that designing the data collection with inspiration from educational design research strengthens the theoretical contribution of the study.

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