When doing research on interventions in the public domain the issue of visibility and invisibilty is an interesting and thought provoking one. A 2013 issue of American Ethnologist explores this theme and regards visibility and invisibility as:
visibility and invisibility as “active processes, not merely empirical states or static qualities of appearance or nonappearance.
Among other things this framework allows research to analyze how, when, why and which activists and forms of activism are noticed and go unnoticed in the public domain, whether it is in media, political discourse or research. Furthermore it is interesting to see the kind of tactics of visibility and invisibility activists use and discover throughout their work.
Virtual Issue: In/visibility
American Ethnologist virtual issue, In/Visibility: Projects, Media, Politics, 2012–2013
Guest edited by Samuel Martínez
The visible and the unseen are states of growing anthropological engagement, as this selection of articles published in American Ethnologist in 2012 and 2013 clearly shows. “In/visibility,” the theme of the 2014 AES spring meeting, organized in collaboration with the Society for Visual Anthropology, looks to visibilization and concealment, and their ambiguous thresholds, as prompts to new questions in the domains of politics, the economy, religion, media, social inequality, citizenship, security, human rights, and humanitarianism. Those emergent questions insist that visibility and invisibility are active processes, not merely empirical states or static qualities of appearance or nonappearance. The articles in this virtual issue of AE draw on a thread that ties creative contemporary sociocultural engagements in anthropology to older questions of method, meaning, and representation, in a renewed exploration of concealment and revelation, silence and disclosure, manifestation and latency, and their boundaries and transformations as forces in the constitution of cultural worldviews and social categories and inequalities. At issue in these articles and in other recent AE articles are current public controversies about “dark sites” in politics, national security, and law; shadow, alien, and regulated forms within citizenship and the environment; techniques of legibility and surveillance and their evasion; visual media’s growing influence; and the hopes and fears pinned on emerging technologies.
Silence and disclosure in knowledge/power regimes
Commentary: Eyes wide shut in transnational science
Exhuming the defeated: Civil War mass graves
Revealing inequalities among media and their publics
Grown folks radio: U.S. election politics and a “hidden” black counterpublic
MICAELA DI LEONARDO
Performing and perceiving citizenship
Clean fake: Authenticating documents and persons in migrant Moscow
Concealment and revelation in the constitution of the social
The ethical made visible
A cultural geometry: Designing political things in Sweden
KEITH M. MURPHY