Web-Enhanced Article: Visual Metaphor as Method in Interviews with Children


JLA 14.2 Web-Enhanced Article


Visual Metaphor as Method in Interviews with Children Cindy Dell Clark

A challenge to child-centered anthropology is to develop methods of exploring children’s worlds that accommodate children’s own ways of communicating meaning, including nonverbal, visual means. The article proposes an approach, the Metaphor Sort Technique, and illustrates this method based on an ethnographic study of childhood diabetes and asthma. The Metaphor Sort Technique employs pictures selected by children as metaphors for their impressions of illness and its treatment. The Metaphor Sort Technique, as a feature of discourse, stimulated, complemented, and supported children’s verbal utterances. The study demonstrates that when modes of discourse include visual, nonliteral tasks, this can activate a child’s discursive power, reducing deference and enhancing the child’s authority in an adultchild encounter.

Pictures used in Metaphor Sort Technique

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