Visualizing Social Science Image 3
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Visualizing Social Science (Image 3)

June 30, 2010
Visualizing Social Science (Image 3) "Guatemalan Boy in Market" This image was taken by photographer Rachel Tanur, and was included in an exhibit of her work titled "Visualizing Social Science" that was shown at the National Science Foundation (NSF) headquarters in Arlington, Va., July thru October 2006, as part of "The Art of Science Project." The Art of Science Project was conceived and implemented by a cross-directorate committee of NSF staff. Its purpose is to bring to NSF, original works of art that visually explore the connections between artistic and scientific expression. The following excerpt, written by Mihriye Mete, Georgetown University, accompanied this photograph at the exhibit: These photos first reminded me of the colorful markets of my beloved city, Istanbul. Then I thought about the children in those markets; some behind the tables, trying to sell their goods and some buying them, while holding their mothers hands. As a mother, I immediately felt that all the children should have been the buyers in those markets. After all, they were children. As a social scientist, however, I knew that this was just wishful thinking for the countries such as Turkey and Guatemala where child labor was still a fact of life. Recent estimates on the participation rate of children in local markets show that Africa has the highest participation rate with 28 percent. It is 15 percent in Latin America and Asia while it is below 1.5 percent in Europe. Research on this topic suggests that child labor is a direct result of poverty. Most parents in the developing world do not want their children to work, and studies show that incidence of child labor decreases when family income increases. A large majority of the children who work in low-income countries are employed by their parents and work in the farms or other family businesses. Even if some of them make an attempt to also go to school, these children generally have to sacrifice their education and hence face an equally difficult future. Researchers and policy advisers recommend that in addition to international legislation that protects children, policies that are aimed at increasing wealth and education in poorer countries would be the safest way to solve child labor problem. This image is copyright and was included in the NSF Multimedia Gallery with permission. See "Restrictions" below regarding use of this image. (Date of Image: 1998) [One of seven related images. See Next Image.] More about this Photographer During her short lifetime (1958-2002), Rachel Tanur traveled widely in the United States, China, Africa, Europe and Latin America, taking photographs that reflected not only her artistic flair and her training in architecture and urban design, but also her concern with people and their interactions. Her photographs in this show, Visualizing Social Science, are accompanied by commentaries by social scientists from around the world. Many of the photos and commentaries reflect globalization and the resulting juxtaposition of traditional and modern artifacts and customs, often with ironic results. Others illustrate aspects of work--its ubiquity, its gender segregation, and its involvement of children. Many of the contributing female social scientists are struck, as was Rachel, with the beauty and incongruity of the public display of laundry hung out to dry; they layer fascination insights onto that beauty. Children and their socialization and the beauty and dignity of aging in traditional societies inspire comments, as do contrasts between pristine nature and environmental hazards posed by development. More generally, Michael Kimmel writes "Rachel makes a choice, reminding us of the simple dignity and even breathtaking beauty of the people over whom the economic machine runs in the march towards profits." And Daniel Rothenberg says of the photos and the photographer, "They express a direct, personal and emotional engagement with the lives of others while also conveying enough intellectual distance to be analytic. Their play between intimacy and commentary defines the photographer as someone bound to her subject, yet concerned with the larger implications of the images she records."

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