Message posted on 27/11/2023

CFP for the 41st IVSA in Veracruz on "Visual Accountability: Show, Don’t Tell"

Visual Accountability: Show, Don’t Tell

2024 Veracruz, Mexico

The International Visual Sociology Association invites submissions for its 41st annual meeting that will take place at Universidad Veracruzana, in Xalapa, Veracruz México. We welcome submissions from across the social sciences in the forms of workshops, paper presentations and exhibitions.

Call For Proposals:

o Abstract submission deadline: January 30 2024

o Abstract Submission Site:

o Notification to delegates: February 20 2024

o Early bird registration: March 31, 2024

o Preliminary program publication: April 15, 2024

o Registration deadline: April 20th, 2024 (final deadline)

o Conference sessions: 26-29 June 2024

More information is available here:

The 2024 IVSA conference is dedicated to exploring the concept of “visual accountability” or visually mediated practices of regulation and control. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and accelerating through it, we identified a shift in progress whereby digital images took an increasingly central role in constructing, maintaining and transforming formal and informal processes of adjudicating what counts as true. What kind of images are considered valid, are allowed and accepted as-if true? How do they convince, and get authorized, and become usable? How are digital technologies influencing the impact of visuality vis-à-vis accountability?

Will visual accountability be used in ways that impact vulnerable individuals (See Neu 2006)? It is worth wondering how digital image sharing contributes to digital infrastructures and impacts practices of enacting certain truths in everyday life. Particular ways of looking that are honed online and emerge out of digital sociality, challenge visual sociology to devise new ways to dialogue with audiences across the academy, bring sociological understandings to the quotidian micro-level, and connect the practice of sociology to broader public issues.

Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1990) posited that the power of photography is extrinsic to photography itself and gains currency by communicating within a system of values. When these pictures become mobile, together with the apps that allow their creation and circulation, they contribute to what Hjorth and Pink call a “social lubricant” (2014). In 2021, 22-year-old Gabby Petito was reported missing in the USA: Her boyfriend was on the run. Cyber sleuths using Twitter and TikTok began to share information to build a timeline of Petito’s movements, zeroing in on the Instagram photos she had been posting up to the time she disappeared. One user noted her hair had dark roots in one photo and seemed to have been freshly dyed blonde in another; others examined the pictures and triangulated with dates to show this was an error. Lavrence and Cambre (2020) use the term, the “digital forensic gaze,” to describe ways of looking that mobilize veridical techniques when scrutinizing online images, as seen when people and groups mobilize online. In these kinds of contexts, such images are considered dubious until proven otherwise.

Meanwhile, seemingly moving in the opposite direction, institutions and corporations are using everyday images as evidence and are asking employees and others to “prove” their claims with photos. For example, in June 2022, the FedEx Corporation in the USA announced it would be offering “Picture proof of delivery” for packages released without a signature. Customers tracking packages will receive a photo showing its location. But what if the package is removed or the picture is manipulated? What might be at stake in the gradual normalization of these practices? A sense of obligation to “show” not just “tell” has begun to permeate the professional sphere, and nascent practices of institutional requests for photographs from employees and other members has slowly been gaining legitimacy. What are the implications of these new practices for visual sociology? What kinds of literacies are required to navigate these emerging ocular regimes? How are people everywhere mobilizing images as testimony and using visual practices to stake their veridical claims?

BEYOND THE THEME: Abstracts may also address other topics relating to visual methods, theories, and the visual analysis of society, culture and social relationships, beyond the general conference theme.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

· Images as legitimation

· Post-truth, trust, and verification

· visual methodologies and accountability

· visual theory and digital representation

· Public perception and deep fakes

· Activism, engagement and “situatedness”

· Visibility, invisibility and the edited image

· Digital sociality and performance

· Surveillance and sousveillance

· Seeing and being seen - social media

· Approaches to AI

· Photographs as “proof” in the everyday (work and social)

· Game playing, social interaction, and machine vision

· Re/Presentation saving face/losing face

· Digital crowds: sociological publics

· Hyper-scrutiny the 21st century

· Surveillance-based social credit systems

· Visual ethics, collaboration & the researcher gaze

· Framing the digital gaze


The IVSA is a non-profit, democratic and academically oriented professional organization devoted to the visual study of society, culture, and social relationships. Our members represent a wide spectrum of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, education, visual communication, photography, filmmaking, art and journalism” (

Whilst strongly rooted in the discipline of sociology, the IVSA welcomes participation from a wide

range of disciplinary and artistic approaches. We also encourage those unfamiliar with visual methods and analysis to visually innovate and experiment in their respective areas of substantive specialization.

As well as panel sessions, the conference will include a student poster competition, research-creation exhibition, keynote address, and spotlight panels, “walking the city” experiences and workshops. The 2024 Scholarly Awards will be announced and celebrated.

For more information about IVSA and conference guidelines, please visit:




CONTACT: Scientific co-ordinator:

*Veracruz co-ordinator : *

Research assistants:

  • ; *

This event is being held through bi-lateral co-operation between Quebec, Canada and Veracruz, Mexico, we thank Concordia University, Montreal and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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