Publication details [#3520]

Clark, Cindy Dell. 2004. Visual metaphor as method in interviews with children. Intersecções 14 (2) : 171–185. 15 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


A challenge to child-centered anthropology is to develop methods of exploring children's worlds that accommodate children's own ways of communicating meaning, including nonverbal, visual means. The article proposes an approach, the Metaphor Sort Technique, and illustrates this method based on an ethnographic study of childhood diabetes and asthma. The Metaphor Sort Technique employs pictures selected by children as metaphors for their impressions of illness and its treatment. The Metaphor Sort Technique, as a feature of discourse, stimulated, complemented, and supported children's verbal utterances. The study demonstrates that when modes of discourse include visual, nonliteral tasks, this can activate a child's discursive power, reducing deference and enhancing the child's authority in an adult-child encounter. (Cindy Dell Clark)