Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The purposes of this dissertation are to provide research that will further facilitate an understanding of two matters of sociological interest: public sociology and video ethnography. In order to achieve this overall objective, a video ethnographic case study was conducted with eight undergraduates at an elite southern university. The students in the study self-filmed week-to week thoughts, feelings, and experiences to provide a methodical comparison of past and current literature of the lifestyles students construct while on campus. A qualitative approach, such as the video diary protocol established for this dissertation, is unlike most research protocols because informants (in this case university students) led themselves through the ethnography rather than being directed by a researcher. As such, one intention of the case study was to observe the phenomenon of student life through the lens of those experiencing it. Recognizing the importance of the interview process in qualitative social science research, after the audiovisual diary footage was thoroughly analyzed, audiovisually recorded interviews were also conducted with the students. As a qualitative method, audiovisual portrayals accentuate the subjective quality of various human experiences and the interactive production of social processes. Audiovisual data offers a multi-modal means of communication, which should be embraced by sociologists, in general, and by ethnographers, in particular. To appreciate the potential of communicating sociology through audiovisual data, researchers need to recognize the characteristics that envelop its existence. Beyond the fundamental understanding of mainstream sociological theoretical and methodological paradigms, technical film expertise is, of course, necessary - specifically using fitting visuals and sounds to convey both the subject and sociological message. Taken together, the combined methods allow presentation of findings – both visually and in print – in a more comprehensive and comprehensible way than would have not been possible with just one method in isolation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Shrum, Wesley



Included in

Sociology Commons