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Title:Reflections in a Canal-2017
Author(s):O'Neill, Brian
Subject(s):Sociology
Abstract:An image of research may take a variety of visual subjects. As a sociologist, my subjects are people. However, even in an image without them, something about society can be learned. This image was taken from a canal bed during my fieldwork on water management in the American Southwest. On the one hand, the image shows a physical reality-arid land with no water. However, the foreground of cracked earth and dead branches frames another reality-the human imagination. The drawing was made by kids who had never seen a river flow. When there is surplus, water flows freely in the canal and school programs come to see it. They conduct basic water quality tests with the help of local water agencies. The drawing is a mix of what they saw, and what they hoped it could be-a living river ecosystem. As I continue my research, I keep coming back to this image. The drawing is reminiscent of a petroglyph in many ways. I think of water scarcity and its effects. I recall the cracked earth and concrete. “There is no coming back from what we have done,” my informant explained, “but we’ll have a flowing stream one day.”
Issue Date:2018-04
Type:Text
image
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/99721
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Brian O'Neill
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-04-19


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