The Power of Photographs of Buildings in the Dresden Urban Discourse. Towards a Visual Discourse Analysis

  • Gabriela B. Christmann Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning
Keywords: sociology of knowledge, discourse, image analysis, photography, visual discourse analysis, urban sociology


"Old Dresden" which is known worldwide as a symbol for inept destruction in World War II stopped existing in its physical form in February 1945. The image of "old Dresden," however, has been maintained in the minds of its citizens. This is as results of the visualization of historical buildings. Buildings are artifacts that can be experienced visually and aesthetically. Thus, it is not surprising that in the context of public discourses they "demand" an appropriate representation in a visual and in an aesthetic respect. In the urban discourse of Dresden the visualization of buildings plays an important role. In the article the author exemplifies her methodical approach to visual discourse analysis. She acts on the assumption that three levels of analyzing images must be taken into consideration: 1. the composition of the image, with its content and design, 2. the context of production and publication, including the horizon of historic events, and 3. the mode of reception, with respect to communicative processes. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0803115


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Author Biography

Gabriela B. Christmann, Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning
Dr. Gabriela B. CHRISTMANN, born in 1961, studied social work at the University of Applied Sciences Ravensburg-Weingarten, and furthermore sociology and political science at the University of Constance (Germany). In the early nineties she did empirical research on the environmental movement (doctoral thesis). In 2003 she completed her postdoctorate research on urban discourse in Dresden. Her main research interests include the sociology of knowledge and culture, urban sociology, communication analysis and methods of qualitative research.
Thematic Issue