Monash University
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Cinematic Bricolage: a knowledge production methodology

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Version 2 2017-05-01, 01:43
Version 1 2017-05-01, 01:39
posted on 2017-05-01, 01:43 authored by Elena Mikhailovna Petrova
In recent years, catalysed by the rise of digital technology, the practice of communication has seen significant restructuring. One cultural form of representation that has gained rapid acclaim is the phenomenon of remix. In the domain of individual expression, remix has granted the opportunity for privatisation of norms and values and for crafting representations according to personal need in a ‘do-it-yourself’ manner. This eclectic approach of modifying and reconstructing things and concepts to accommodate individual need, was suggested as a qualitative research methodology by Claude Levi-Strauss (1962) and further developed by Denzin and Lincoln (1999) and Kincheloe and Berry (2004). It is understood as bricolage and conceptualised as ‘a critical, multi-perspectival, multi-theoretical and multi-methodological approach to inquiry’ (Rodgers, 2012, p. 1).

This study focuses on using digital media as a means of generating knowledge through the application of bricolage. It proposes a remix of digital media as a means of production and bricolage as a qualitative research methodology, terming it ‘cinematic bricolage’. Thus, cinematic bricolage is a methodology of data collection from heterogeneous resources such as mobile recordings, using such devices as smart phones and tablets, as well as diverse internet resources, such as Kindle, YouTube, social media sites, websites, blogs and so on. This data is analysed through the representational method of, what this study identifies as, cinematic writing. This is a method in which alphabetic writing is used as a foundational element and remixed with other semiotic modes such as, images, sound and motion. The informational weight between these modes of expression is distributed according to individual tendencies and skills. Consequently, cinematic bricolage is a methodology conducive to endless hybridisation, accommodating the specifics of the tasks and dispositions of the producer.

In this study cinematic bricolage is explored in two probes and is framed within a critical-constructivist self-reflective practice. Choosing metaphoric logic as a mechanism for representing and comprehending objects and issues, in the first probe, the self-reflective bricoleur enters the realm of her imagination where she invents a meeting with the leaders of the Russian Communist regime. In the second probe, the bricoleur revisits some childhood events that take place in a social reality that reflects the theoretical construct depicted in probe one. By collecting bricoles – historical facts, quotes from historical figures, fragments from YouTube videos, old personal and new photographs, internet images and songs and sounds – the bricoleur reconstructs the fragments taken from the collected data into a new assemblage that corresponds with her perception of this historical period. Through analysing the probes, this study finds that sampling, deconstructing and remixing the fragments into new assemblages by means of digital media, the bricoleur involves herself in an act of autopoesis – self-creation (Maturana & Varela, 1998).

For educational purposes, this study demonstrates the possibilities of cinematic bricolage becoming a rigorous knowledge-production methodology, with the accent placed on the knower’s enhanced ability to integrate herself into a larger social context through improved self-awareness and realisation of her individual tendencies and skills.


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Principal supervisor

Jillian Brown

Additional supervisor 1

Jane Southcott

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Education

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