Beauty: Triggering the Sociological Imagination with a Webcomic
Keywords:Beauty, Sociology, Comics, Science Communication, Visuality
The standard academic publication is often not an effective way to trigger the sociological imagination. This essay discusses an alternative means to invite people to think sociologically: a webcomic. In a collaboration between a sociologist and a team of comic artists, we created a webcomic (www.erccomics.com) to highlight insights from a research project on the social shaping of beauty standards in the transnational modelling industry. In the making of this Beauty comic, three "translations" had to be done: from analytical to narrative, from verbal to visual and from conceptual to concrete. We discuss how these translations were done and what we learned from this, including broader implications of these translations for (social) science communication, the public relevance of sociological research, the usefulness of thinking in different modalities and the fraught relationship between standard academic modes of communication and the sociological imagination.
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