Show and Tell


  • Monica Sassatelli University of Bologna, Life Quality Studies Department



Representation, Comics, Social Research, Drawing, Imaginacy


This short piece is a commentary on the collection of experimental interventions at the crossroads of sociology and comics, or comics-based research, published in the current issue of Sociologica. Starting from some of the most relevant aspects that both unite and distinguish the different approaches, it proposes a reflection on how comics, and more broadly drawings, can help expand the sociological imagination. It does so --- through text, drawings and captions --- focusing on the transition between concepts and images, or verbal and visual icons. The comments draw particular attention to these interventions’ diverse but converging plea for visual literacy --- tentatively renamed here imaginacy.


Balmer, A. (2021). Painting with Data. Alternative Aesthetics of Qualitative Research. The Sociological Review, 1–19 [online first].

Barberis, E., Grüning, B., Hamdy, S., Nye, C. & Dragone, F. (2021). EthnoGRAPHIC: An Interview. Sociologica, 15(1), 291–298.

Berger, J. (1980). On Looking. London: Bloomsbury.

Becker, H.S. (2007). Telling about Society. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Berthaut, J., Bidet, J., & Thura, M. (2021). Making Sociologically-Grounded Fictions. A Review of the SocioramaCollection Experience. Sociologica, 15(1), 265–290.

Bogue, R. (2007). The Art of the Possible. Revue Internationale de Philosophie, 241(3), 273–286.

Bourdieu, P. (1979). La distinction. Paris: Ed. de Minuit. [En. Trans. (1984) Distinction. London: Routledge].

Calvino, I. (1988). Visibility. In Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cancellieri, A. & Peterle, G. (2021). Sociologica, 15(1). Urban Research in Comics Form: Exploring Spaces, Agency and Narrative Maps in Italian Marginalized Neighbourhoods. Sociologica, 15(1), 211–239.

Castaldi, S. (2017). A Brief History of Comics in Italy and Spain. In F. Bramlett, R. Cook, & A. Meskin (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Comics(pp. 79–87). New York: Routledge.

Eisner, W. (1983). Comics and Sequential Art. Northampton, MA: Kitchen Sink Press.

Emma (2018). La charge émotionnelle et autres trucs invisibles. Paris: Massot.

Evans, B. (2021). Portraits of Violence. Critical Reflections on the Graphic Novel. Sociologica, 15(1), 241–263.

Flowers, E. (2017). Experimenting with Comics Making as Inquiry. Visual Arts Research, 43(2), 21–57.

Foucault, M. (1966) Les mots et les choses. Une archéologie des sciences humaines. Paris: Gallimard. [En. Trans. (2002) The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London: Routledge].

Foucault, M. (1973). Ceci n’est pas une pipe. Paris: Fata Morgana. [En. Trans. (1983) This is not a Pipe. Berkeley: University of California Press].

Kuipers, G., & Ghedini, F. (2021). Beauty: Triggering the Sociological Imagination with a Webcomic. Sociologica, 15(1), 143–162.

Kuttner, P.J., Weaver-Hightower, M.B., Sousanis, N. (2020). Comics-Based Research; The Affordances of Comics for Research Across Disciplines. Qualitative Research, 21(2), 195–214.

Mandolini, N. (2020). Let’s Go Graphic. Mapping Italian Graphic Novels on Gender-Based Violence. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.

Marcus, C. (2017). Lissaand The Transduction of Ethnography. In Lissa, written by S. Hamdy & C. Nye; illustrated by S. Bao & C. Brewer; lettering by M. Parenteau. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

McCloud, S. (1993). Understanding Comics. The Invisible Art. Northampton, MA: Kitchen Sink Press.

Mendelsund, P. (2014). What We See when We Read. New York: Vintage Books.

Satrapi, M. (2007). The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon Books.

Schiemer, B., Duffner, R., & Ayers, S.R. (2021a). Theories of Creativity: The Significance of the Insignificant. Research Note: Methodological Reflections behind the Scenes. Sociologica, 15(1), 193–210.

Schiemer, B., Duffner, R., & Ayers, S.R. (2021b). Theories of Creativity: The Significance of the Insignificant. A Graphic Novel. Sociologica, 15(1), 163–191.

Sones, W.W.D. (1944). The Comics and Instructional Method. Journal of Educational Sociology, 18(4), 232–240.

Taussig, M. (2011). I Swear I Saw This: Drawings in Fieldwork Notebooks, Namely My Own. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.




How to Cite

Sassatelli, M. (2021). Show and Tell. Sociologica, 15(1), 311–319.



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