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Introduction to Audiovisual Archives by Peter Stockinger

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Chapter 5

Analysis of the Audiovisual Content 1

5.1. Thematic analysis

Thematic analysis is a particular approach for processing a text (in our case, an audiovisual one). This approach focuses on the content of the text, and on the supposed “meaning” it holds for the author or for a given audience. In order to develop this approach in concrete terms in the form of a (central) part of the working environment which we shall call the ASW Description Workshop (by way of reference to the R&D project for which it was developed), we have relied on a number of basic hypotheses.

First, we consider that a theme is a piece of knowledge which enables some agent to understand the world around it, to interpret it, interact with it, with other agents and also with himself. Similarly as for visual art, the theme may be compared to a frame which determines an agent’s view of the world, of others and of himself, the empirical scope of a view, his (epistemic but also social and historical) point of view, and even his (cultural, cognitive etc.) assumptions. A theme – an intellectual frame – is, of course, subject to processes of adaptation and evolution which result from interactions between agents, and between agent(s) and the world.

When speaking about the theme (or a theme) developed and addressed in a text, we are suggesting thereby that a text communicates something about an object or a domain to which it refers, making use of the frame which is peculiar to the theme. Hence when, in an audiovisual ...

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