The other in ourselves
Starting from Lajos Császi’s essay about an early English participatory movement called Mass Observation, and taking a Hungarian experimental short film titled Private history as a particular example, this study explores how one can understand the appropriation of a private film archive as a sort of participatory research, or as a sort of “science of ourselves”. In the case of the Private history made by Gábor Bódy and Péter Tímár in 1978, there is a construction of a particular relationship: the professional filmmakers “organised” a participatory research, the protagonist of which is a private filmmaker who had shot his footages long before the final cut of his material. He and his family represented themselves by their home movies, and the abovementioned professional filmmakers used these family footages as a visual study of private lives before and under Worl War II in Hungary. Through the exploration of the archive materials they tried to reveal the origins and actual chances of the contemporary civil society in the 1970s. This study suggests that one of the elementary questions raised by Private history is that of which were the ways of visual representation for a Jewish family before and under Worl War II in Hungary, and beyond that and more widely, and of what could the private image mean in an illiberal, antidemocratic and dictatorial society.
Keywords: archive footages, auto-etnography, counter-culture, everyday life, experimental film, halfie anthropology, hegemonic culture, Lambeth Walk, Mass Observation-movement, othering/constructing the Other, participatory research, popular culture, private film, Private history, “science of ourselves”
Médiakutató Spring 2020 pp. 11-23
A (self-)critique of participatory culture
The name of Henry Jenkins has a prominent place in the study of media culture, especially in that of popular culture. In addition to his research, which has set out the main lines of research on fan culture, he is also credited with creating the concept of participatory culture. Participatory culture is closely related to fan practices but encompasses a wider range of activities. The acquisition of the skills associated with it plays an important role in developing users’ media literacy. However, Jenkins’ original ideas about participatory culture have been subject to a number of criticisms. Although studies focusing on participatory culture have been published in the field of media research in Hungary, there are no texts available that focus specifically on Jenkins’ reflections on the critiques and the concept of participatory culture as further elaborated by him. This article attempts to fill this gap. It presents the (fan) participation possibilities that he has further developed in the meantime. Participatory politics in the context of civic engagement, while drawing heavily on it, goes to some extent beyond the boundaries of the phenomenon of participatory culture.
Médiakutató Summer 2023 pp. 79-90 https://doi.org/10.55395/MK.2023.2.5