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dc.contributor.advisorFowler, Catherine
dc.contributor.authorMiller Skillander, Katherine
dc.identifier.citationMiller Skillander, K. (2014). Documenting lives over time: How longitudinal documentaries provide a visual life course perspective (Thesis, Master of Arts). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThe term longitudinal documentary has become commonplace in film studies where it is used to describe any series of documentaries made over a long period of time; this thesis explores the origins of the word ‘longitudinal’ in other disciplines. In a scientific longitudinal study the same group of people are observed over time with points of interest being collected at repeated intervals. Multidisciplinary researchers often adopt a life course perspective that understands lives as taking the shape of a path that is not straight or static, but rather has both continuity and change. The concept of the whole person is also used to express a sense of individuality, as life course researchers look at lives as ‘a whole’, rather than through universal separate stages. By importing the concepts of the life course and the whole person in this thesis, I will argue that longitudinal documentaries can be seen as providing a uniquely visual life course perspective. Three longitudinal documentaries, the Seven Up series (1964-2012), the Love, Lust and Lies series (1975-2009) and Women/Sheilas (1976 & 2004), are analysed so as to explore the exceptional features of longitudinal documentary. Chapter One focuses upon the emergence of the longitudinal documentary form. It traces how this form has evolved since the first longitudinal documentary in 1964 and establishes the special relationship to time that such documentaries exhibit. The three chapters that follow then break down how longitudinal documentaries document their participants over time, focusing on three temporalities: historical time, biological time and biographical time. Chapter Two uses historical time as a framework to discuss the representation of outer time through objective elements such as the revisit and different temporal activities of looking back (retrospectively) and forwards (prospectively). Chapters Three and Four will explore the more subjective qualities of inner time through biological time and biographical time. Biological time is represented in a person-centred approach via close ups on the face while biographical time is represented through the interview. The fusion of historical, biological and biographical time in longitudinal documentary provides an unprecedented ‘visual life course perspective’.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectlongitudinal documentary
dc.subjectlife course perspective
dc.subjectlongitudinal studies
dc.subjectThe Seven Up series
dc.subjectThe Love Lust and Lies series
dc.subjectThe Women series
dc.subjectSheilas: 28 Years On
dc.titleDocumenting lives over time: How longitudinal documentaries provide a visual life course perspective
dc.language.rfc3066en, Film and Communication of Arts of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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