Adopting visual methods can enhance our understanding of the social world. By encompassing a multitude of forms including photographs, videos, maps, diagrams, symbols and so forth, images can provide specific information about our existence. They can also act as powerful indicators regarding the multiple meanings embedded within our culture. One domain where the use of visual methods has been less well documented is that of physical culture. Physical culture is taken here to mean human physical movement occurring within recognised cultural domains such as sport, dance and, more broadly, outdoor and indoor recreational activities involving expression through physicality. Opening this special edition of Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise on ‘Visual Methods in Physical Cultures’, I provide some broad responses to the following questions: What are visual methods? Why might they be useful? How can they be utilised? I then outline some ongoing debates within the field surrounding issues of interpretation, representation and ethics. I conclude by positioning this special edition as a resource to assist with the continued use of visual methods in physical culture.
- visual methods; sport and exercise sciences; physical culture; researcher-created; respondent-created