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Analytic Filmmaking and the Persistence of Narrative: A Response to Roy Germano

  • Sunita Parikh

Abstract

While there is much to appreciate in Roy Germano's essay, I argue that the analytic filmmaking project as currently presented has flaws that need to be addressed before we can proceed with this approach. First, Germano underemphasizes many of the similarities among visual, audio, and textual data collection and analysis while at the same time failing to note important ways in which the two differ. Second, the discussion of documentary filmmaking focuses on a particular style of documentary and neglects to consider documentaries that are similar in their construction to the type of analytic filmmaking he argues for in the article. This emphasis on the differences creates needless and potentially problematic schisms between two groups of empirical researchers who have a great deal in common, in terms of interests and methods. Finally, the theoretical framework and the connection between theory and data need to be presented much more explicitly so that the viewer can follow the argument of the film.

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References

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Bates, Robert, Greif, Avner, Levi, Margaret, Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, and Weingast, Barry. 1998. Analytic Narratives. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Bowen, John and Petersen, Roger. 1999. Critical Comparisons in Politics and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Carpenter, Daniel P. 2000. “What Is the Marginal Value of Analytic Narratives?Social Science History 24(4): 653667.
Elster, Jon. 2000. “Rational Choice History: A Case of Excessive Ambition.” American Political Science Review 94(3): 685695.
Germano, Roy. 2010. The Other Side of Immigration. United States: RG Films.
Hampton, Henry, Vecchione, Judith, Fayer, Steve, Bagwell, Orlando, Crossley, Callie, DeVinney, James A., Lacy, Madison Davis, et al. . 2006. Eyes on the prize. Alexandria, Va.: PBS Video.
Joost, Henry and Schulman, Ariel. 2010. Catfish. Los Angeles: Universal Pictures.
Guggenheim, Charles. 1989. “Journey to America.” The American Experience. Alexandria, Va.: PBS Video.
Parikh, Sunita. 2000. “The Strategic Value of Analytic Narratives.” Social Science History 24(4): 677684.
Rodrik, Dani. 2003. In Search of Prosperity: Analytic Narratives on Economic Growth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Schiemann, John W. 2007. “Bizarre Beliefs and Rational Choices: A Behavioral Approach to Analytic Narratives.” Journal of Politics 69(2): 511524.
Zagare, Frank C. 2009. “Explaining the 1914 War in Europe: An Analytic Narrative.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 21(1): 6395.
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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
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