Käyttäytymistieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Hilander, Markus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The thesis explores (1) the processes of the interpretation of photographs within (2) geographical and semiotic discourses in which (3) the photograph is seen to both guide young people's geographical vigilance and foster their geographical thinking skills. The thesis questions the role of the interpretation of photographs in geography education within which photographs are mainly used, not interpreted. The thesis introduces a geographical reading of Roland Barthes's visual semiotics and Eero Tarasti's existential semiotics upon which a more profound way of interpreting photographs geographically is built. First, the thesis introduces the concept of geographical vigilance. Together with road signs, guide signs and familiar buildings, it is possible to locate the photograph in question on the globe. These geographical hints can be used to anchor the meanings of the photograph, to study the "blind field" that is, the empty space surrounding the photograph's frames and to utilize the geographical knowledge that the student possesses in the interpretation processes. Second, the thesis introduces the concept of geographical media literacy skills. Through these skills, the geographical content of media images is studied using semiotic procedures. In addition, geographical media literacy skills highlight the role of the interpretation of photographs as part of geo-media tools and resources, which are being introduced in the Finnish comprehensive and upper secondary school curricula. In the thesis, semiotic concepts such as "commutation test," "transfer of meanings," and the "blind field" are applied to practice in the context of geography education. These concepts are seen as semiotic acts with which the paradigmatic choices of the photographer can be challenged. With existential semiotics, a new meta-language for visual methodologies is suggested; this meta-language concentrates on the aspects of making visual re-presentations, rather than conducting a content analysis of them. The main visual data-set consists of digital photographs taken in South Africa and in New York City, and of ready-made media images. The digital photographs are interpreted by Finnish high school students, and the media images by Finnish and international experts in geography education as well as Finnish geography teachers. In both cases, photo-elicited questionnaires are used.