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Write an individual pre-assignment that is based on Leadership and Decision Making and the mentioned literature on visual methodologies. Focus of the assignment is to consider how you can enhance your research project—or another academic article project—by employing a specific visual research methodology and approach. Describe briefly the research project’s aims, objectives, analytical approach, data collection, and intended research plan. Consider in particular what would be the benefits but also the challenges and requirements of employing the visual research methods you have in mind. What kind of knowledge would be produced with the visual methodologies and approaches you consider? Important: study in advance the course readings to improve your research plan and focus accordingly. Pre-assignment report should be not more than 4 pages (Times New Roman, 12 pt. 1.5 line space, 2.5 cm margins on all sides)

https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417738572

Organization
2018, Vol. 25(3) 320 –334

© The Author(s) 2017
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DOI: 10.1177/1350508417738572

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Companion for the videography
‘Monstrous Organizing—The
Dubstep Electronic Music Scene’

Joel Hietanen
Aalto University, Finland; Stockholm University, Sweden

Joonas Rokka
EMLYON Business School, France

Abstract
This companion essay contributes to video-based organizational research by critically assessing
conventional representational modes of videographic practice and conceptualizing an ‘expressive’
ontology for videographic research. We offer an image of thought that foregrounds the creative
and powerfully affective potential of both videographic work and spectatorship. To advance this
perspective and to inspire future research, we present our videography (length 30 minutes) that
integrates various ‘expressive’ elements in montage form. We use the film to scrutinize the
potential of video-based research and several methodological considerations tied to it. In doing so,
we argue that video-based organizing of research activities can be seen as ‘monstrous’, an entire
emergent mode of aesthetic storytelling that comes into being not in ‘capturing’ or ‘recording’,
but rather as an affective production of potentialities.

Keywords
Deleuze, expressive videography, monstrous organizing, music scenes, video

Prolegomenon
What is opposed to fiction is not the real; it is not the truth which is always that of masters and colonizers;
it is the story-telling function of the poor, in so far as it gives the false the power which makes it into a
memory, a legend, a monster. (Deleuze, 1989: 150)

Corresponding author:
Joel Hietanen, Department of Marketing, School of Business, Aalto University, P.O. Box 21230, 00076 Aalto, Helsinki,
Finland.
Email: [email protected]

Article

738572ORG0010.1177/1350508417738572OrganizationHietanen and Rokka
research-article2017

Hietanen and Rokka 321

Dear reader, before you continue any further, may we ask you to first watch our videography. Our
video is a fast-paced story that traces the unfolding of the dubstep electronic music scene. It is an
expressive account of a turbulent and instantly global social phenomenon, and follows the scene’s
organizing as it grapples with emergence mediated by the immediacy of online connectivity. The
videography, Monstrous Organizing—The Dubstep Electronic Music Scene, can be viewed at
https://www.vimeo.com/117644344.

Attempting something that is not constitutive of extant organizing is always a tricky endeavor.
Thus, we feel greatly humbled that the editors of Organization have chosen to take the bold step of
publishing this work, one of the first fully fledged videographic studies in organization theory (see
Salovaara, 2014; Wood and Brown, 2011, for more examples of video publications). This companion
essay has four principle aims: (1) to clarify our motivation for this endeavor, (2) to produce a concrete
link with video work and theorizing, (3) to draw parallels with different modes of video-based
research, and (4) to conclude with a message of hope for creative academic work under the guise of
‘monstrously’ (see Thanem, 2006) ‘expressive’ videographic research (Hietanen et al., 2014).

While other disciplines such as visual anthropology (e.g. MacDougall, 2011; Pink, 2006, 2007) and
consumer research have a comparatively long tradition with alternative modes of representation, includ-
ing videographic research (Belk and Kozinets, 2005; Kozinets and Belk, 2006; Veer, 2014) that is regu-
larly featured in premier conferences1 and also published in journal special issues (Caldwell and Henry,
2010; Rokka et al.,2017), organization theory has to date remained somewhat less inclined to explore
video-based methods. Nevertheless, it seems that this discrepancy is, in light of recent developments in
the field, on the cusp of being rectified. Not only is there a developing inclination toward the visual in
studying organization and management (Bell and Davidson, 2013; Bell et al., 2014; Warren, 2002), an
increasing focus on video-based analytical approaches and theorizing (Beyes and Steyaert, 2012;
Cunliffe and Coupland, 2012; Gylfe et al., 2016; Heath et al., 2010; Wood and Brown, 2012), but also
an exciting push toward new forms of researcher-made films (Bates, 2015; Lorimer, 2010; Salovaara,
2014; Smets et al., 2014; Vannini, 2015; Wood and Brown, 2011), and a recently published special issue
on video-based research in Organizational Research Methods (Jarzabkowski et al., 2014).

It is now widely recognized that the diminishing costs of both equipment and broadband con-
nectivity have turned virtually every citizen of a developed country into a potential videographer
(Cubitt, 1993), and the same can be said for academicians alike (Belk and Kozinets, 2005; Kozinets
and Belk, 2006; MacDougall, 2001; Petr et al., 2015). The availability of editing software now often
offered pre-bundled into most operating systems and the computing power readily available to run
them has also placed a mobile video studio in the hands of every laptop owner. However, the nature
of the medium of video and how it relates to extant forms of reporting academic work has to date
received less attention (Hietanen et al., 2014; Wood, 2015). While recent work has noted videogra-
phy to be associated with ethnographic practice that entails filming in naturally unfolding cultural or
organizational contexts (Whiting et al., 2018), the term has been used to refer to almost any form of
academic film production including ethnographic film, researcher-made documentary, or video data
source, making it difficult to evaluate their distinct ontological and epistemological underpinnings.
Moreover, the video medium has generally been understood as a rather straightforward and trans-
parent tool and often constructed to be ‘readable like text’, as a supplementary material (e.g. Wood
and Brown, 2011), or as data that is seen to offer something akin to an objective mirror-of-nature (cf.
Gylfe et al., 2016; Schembri and Boyle, 2013). To us, a recent review of video-based research appli-
cations in organization theory by Christianson (2018) depicts clear tendencies of both implicit real-
ism regarding the medium and also an ‘inward-orientation’, where the preoccupation is to produce
increasingly ‘authentic’ video data by, for example, broadening its scope to include increasing
amounts of video footage produced by the research participants themselves. While other recent
scholarship has begun to increasingly recognize the threat of treating video as a straightforward and

322 Organization 25(3)

taken-for-granted medium that leads to an ‘illusion of objectivity’ (Toraldo et al., 2018: 12), which
should rather be seen as a ‘mode of observation and reflection, providing new insights rather than
objective recall’ (p. 15), this epistemological challenge has not received enough critical attention in
organization theorizing. Working with ‘illusion’ and ‘creative artistic expression’ in video-based
research has also been recognized (Belk and Kozinets, 2005; Kozinets and Belk, 2006; MacDougall,
2011; Vannini, 2015; Wood and Brown, 2012), but theorizing on such notions has not generally been
of focal importance in the articles published on the medium to date.

Thus, for us, what seems to be at stake is the ontology of the videographic medium itself, or
whether we are to understand it as either ‘representational’ (e.g. Pink, 2007; Schembri and Boyle,
2013; Tsoukas, 1998; Tsoukas and Hatch, 2001) or ‘expressive’ (Hietanen et al., 2014). Through our
videographic project, we wish to argue for increasingly recognizing the potential of the latter, with-
out necessarily claiming that other perspectives would not remain valid within their own frame-
works. In addition, we wish to imagine future possibilities for videographic research in which it
might stand on its own as a medium that is not immediately relegated to secondary positions, that is,
in the sense that it can only be addressed in comparisons that privilege text and photography. To do
so, we will follow the cinematography theory of Gilles Deleuze (1986, 1989) and also incorporate
his joint work with Felix Guattari on the philosophy of emergence as it pertains to our videographic
project (e.g. Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, 2013; also Linstead and Thanem, 2007). In short, we con-
ceive videography as the ‘entire methodology of the production of expression via moving image’
(Hietanen, 2012: 5). We will also discuss how videographic practice, in terms of fieldwork, editing
and spectating can be seen as instances of ‘monstrous organizing’ (Thanem, 2006) par excellence.
While the focus on expressivity denotes seeing videographic work particularly through the affective
potential of the medium, it is a ‘monstrous’ undertaking when conceived as ongoing organizing that
comes into being through instability and relationality: a disruptive tracer and participant in organ-
izing that is simultaneously coming into being and unraveling. Instead of producing faithful repre-
sentations of events in video form, we focus on how the entirety of a videographic endeavor comes
into being as a relational assemblage rather than a separated reproduction of realities. This view
attempts to disrupt established categorizations of how organizational research is conceived, con-
ducted, disseminated and experienced. It evokes and assembles new forms of relations that are
necessarily ‘open-ended matter of becoming’ (Thanem, 2006: 187). While a short companion essay
such as this can naturally do only very limited justice to the complex matters at hand, we hope it can
nevertheless serve as a conversation starter which adequately represents our perspective.

While the notion of the ‘monstrous’ is employed in our videography to explain how music
scenes organize, in this companion essay, we expand this image of thought to equally entail how
we come to fathom expressive videographic work from a methodological perspective. Expressive
videography should thus not be seen as a creation of ‘wholes’ or states of stability and completion,
but rather a ‘trembling organizing’ (Linstead and Thanem, 2007) or a ‘viscous becoming’ that
seeks to rupture and reverberate rather than report and represent (Vannini, 2015). Following
Deleuze, expressive videography thus becomes an inherently monstrous activity; it always moves
on the edges of actualities it creates. It is composed of affective encounters assembled in various
stages of conducting fieldwork, gathering footage, choosing and editing clips, organizing shots on
the timeline, adding layers of sound, graphics and text, and screening the film. As a result, the film
brings us into (and beyond) affective and disruptive relations with embodied, social, and techno-
logical worlds. A videographic project is thus a ‘mashup’ of diverse eventifications mediated
through our presence in the field, through our fetishistic camera-eye (Marks, 2000), and through
our interpretative storytelling on the editing table (Hietanen et al., 2014).

Above all, we argue for expressive videography that deterritorializes video from a ‘mirror’ into a
‘crystal’ (Deleuze, 1989: 274) that is not a reflection of ‘realities’ but a pure generation of a possible

Hietanen and Rokka 323

or illusionary one (albeit underpinned by theorizing and empirical practice). Following Deleuze, we
believe that only in striving to understand in this way we can seek to harness the potential of vide-
ographic work as necessarily a powerful machine of desire and fiction (also Žižek, 2006). These
fictions can be immensely powerful and emotionally moving. Next, we will elaborate our ontologi-
cal stance and distinguish how expressive videography moves beyond ideas that maintain the repre-
sentational veracity of video work. Finally, we illustrate how this understanding was translated into
the ‘making-of’ process and methodological principles which guided our videography.

Ontological background—reading alongside Deleuze

Until relatively recently the audiovisual moving image remained an authentic representation of the
world in the traditions of visual anthropology and ethnographic filmmaking. This view of the mov-
ing image as a ‘verisimilitude-machine’ began to shatter with the ‘crisis of representation’ of the
1980s and pushed representation toward experimenting with a multitude of new perspectives des-
tined to ‘evoke, animate, expose, impress, unsettle, and rapture reality, rather than “capture” it’
(Vannini, 2015: 231; also Ruby, 1999). Thereafter, the illusory and phantasmatic nature of the
cinematographic image has been more readily recognized. The advent of digital forms of produc-
ing video proposed another challenge, however. Due to its abstract nonmaterial nature, video media
is notoriously difficult to define comprehensively (Cubitt, 1993). Video media cannot be concep-
tualized as a ‘thing’ in a static state, but in a continuous transformation with respect to technical
development that both manifests and drives it, or being ‘[e]mbedded in interactive multimedia, as
it increasingly is, video becomes an even more active medium’ (Lemke, 2007: 40; also Bolter and
Grusin, 2000), which is readily reworked into other expressions and ‘mashups’. What becomes
recorded through the process of digitalization can be argued to be technically as much abstracted
from (any type of) reality as a visually represented image of an atom. This abstracting of ‘reality’
into binary series of ones and zeros can be recorded onto data storage devices, and later reincar-
nated with electronic impulses to reproduce an illusion of what was recorded, an illusion that simu-
lates what was seen through the lens at the time of recording. The video medium has technically
nothing in common with a ‘reality’—other than its software-mediated illusionary power of com-
munication (Cubitt, 1993; Hietanen et al., 2014).

Through our almost decade-long preoccupation with video practice, we have increasingly noted
that the obstacles in the way of academic videographies are not a lack of interest, poor production
skills, difficulties in distribution, or even unacceptability. Rather, it is a problem of vocabulary, par-
ticularly of vocabulary arising from video itself. Centuries of academic exchanges have allowed
scholars to be relatively adept in interpreting, analyzing, and critiquing text. Yet, when showcasing
videos to academic audiences or when submitting them to peer-review, what we often seem to expe-
rience are reactions that tend toward emotional responses (whether exhilarated or repulsed) that
avoid specifically discussing what was seen. Videography in the form of an academic research
methodology is still in its infancy, and thus we often seem condemned to talk about academic videos
in ways that immediately make comparisons to article manuscripts. Video is thus rarely thought of
on its own terms, but rather always subjugated under other, more established orders such as text and
photography. But let us now briefly turn to Deleuze’s (1986, 1989) work on cinema and its under-
pinnings in the Deleuzoguattarian ontology of emergence (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, 2013).

One of Deleuze’s and Guattari’s primary projects was to imagine an ontology of change that
would overturn the dominant mode of Western thought regarding representationalism (Olkowski,
1999; also Linstead and Thanem, 2007; Thanem, 2004). While this short companion can do little
justice to the truly enormous conceptual inventiveness of Deleuze and Guattari, we hope it can
nevertheless act as a sensitizing piece for an expressive approach to videography (see Hietanen

324 Organization 25(3)

et al., 2014). Deleuze has been referred to as the only philosopher who had a deep connection
with and truly loved cinema. He wanted to create a conceptual space for cinema, which emerged
purely from cinema alone without being a priori subordinated to text or photography (Bogue,
2003). In two written volumes, Cinema 1 (1986) and Cinema 2 (1989), Deleuze gives a truly
exhausting array of concepts that construct a complex taxonomy of the various signs of audio-
visual moving images. In what follows, we will focus only on a few key ideas that help define
our perspective to expressive videography and enable us to connect it into a circuit with organi-
zation theory.

To start with, we need to establish an ontological space for video. As noted before, extant
research in video methods exemplified by fields of consumer research and management have
often attempted to subsume video to be readable and analyzed as ‘text’ (see Schembri and Boyle,
2013), or as dissectible frames that offer their epistemological weight when frozen and drawn out
of their successive movement (see Gylfe et al., 2016; also Hindmarsh and Llewellyn, 2018). In
contrast, for Deleuze, the immanent ontology that makes cinema powerful and agentic is its char-
acteristic of movement and its nonlinear relationship with chronological time (also Bogue, 2003).
It is only in movement where video becomes truly agentic, and this immanence does not ‘cut’ the
video outside of the events in the world, but rather makes the event of video as a part of the
unfolding of the world, not a descriptive act that records, but a generative act that produces actu-
alities in-the-making. The moving screen is thus not a passive plane awaiting its perception, but
enters into a complex embodied relationship with the body and mind of the viewer (also Barker,
2009; Marks, 2000). For Deleuze (1994), thinking is not a harmonious activity, but rather some-
thing forcefully surprising and even violent. Through its agency in the form of machinic move-
ment, video can produce affective events that force us to think, not by simply decoding its
meanings cognitively, but by forcing our whole bodies into an active encounter with it. Time is
not a matter of logical and sequential succession in contemporary cinema either, for the flow of
the cinematic image depends on a complex relationship with possible pasts and futures punctu-
ated by images of multiple presents and the ‘virtuality’ of how images of the past and the future
coincide with it. In this perspective, video thus must be experientially understood as a whole, and
if constructed in an affectively powerful way, a whole that surges beyond itself in the shock to
thought or how it forces the viewer to think of ‘impossible worlds’, or to think in new and unfore-
seen ways (also Bogue, 2003; Massumi, 2002; Olkowski, 1999). Thus, an affective encounter
with video is not contained within the frame, but produces sublime relationalities in its potential
‘overcodedness’ and ‘unbearability’. The potentiality of such ‘lines of flight’ in thought also
maintains a potential of societal change (Wood and Brown, 2011).

If video, as a potentially affective medium (Wood, 2015), is taken seriously then what becomes
epistemologically important are how it imparts its forces in movement (change in the intensities of
our thoughts—how changing thought alters our unfolding material relations). When experiencing
cinema, we are intertwined in its agentic and machinic movement (Deleuze, 1989: 156), as it does
not wait for us to bring it closure, but has already moved on. We are affected by it bodily in a limi-
nal fashion. We are no longer simply cognitive observers, but neither do we react fully corporeally
with the moving image. Even from the perspective of neuroscience, the cinematographic image
causes ‘action tendencies’ to arise in us (Grodal, 2009). The ontology of cinema is the thinking
body’s relation to movement itself. For Deleuze (1986), semiology in this sense, thus, becomes the
analysis of movement:

IMAGE=MOVEMENT […] There is no moving body [mobile] which is distinct from executed movement.
There is nothing moved which is distinct from the received movement. Every thing, that is to say every
image, is indistinguishable from its actions and reactions: this is universal variation. (p. 58)

Hietanen and Rokka 325

In Deleuze’s and Guattari’s philosophy, emergence can be conceptualized as a simultaneous
unfolding of ‘content’ and ‘expression’, where systemic forms come into being from uniform mat-
ter. Concisely, content denotes this form of stratification, and expression is its ‘movement’, change,
coming-into-being, and decay. From this perspective, the same logic can be used for material forms
(crystallization in Earth’s strata) or the emergence of thought itself (the formation of a shocking
idea that changes one’s relations to both one’s past and future). In contrast to representational
assumptions of stability and a concrete link with a signifier and signified, the relationality of
change and becoming takes precedence. Applying this thought to videography, the audiovisual
moving image is thus not concerned with any particular image (unlike photography, which aims to
‘reach a state of equilibrium at a certain instant’ (Deleuze, 1986: 24)), but a successive flow of
changing intensities that produce an excess of meaning; overcoded relations between the screen
and body/minds are external to their terms. ‘Space covered is past, movement is present, the act of
covering […] movement is indivisible, or cannot be divided without changing quantitatively each
time it is divided’ (p. 1). For Deleuze, time is the movement of changing relations and thus not to
be thought of as an external variable, but the ontology of immanence, and thus,

We are no longer stable objects or identities external to the modulation of time, we are, rather, of the world,
affective and affected nerves. Thus ‘the brain is nothing but this—an interval, a gap between action and
reaction […] It constitutes a centre of indetermination in the acentred universe of images […] in the sense
of organizing an unexpected response—because it perceives and has received the excitation on a privileged
facet, eliminating the remainder’. (pp. 63–64)

This ontology of intensive relations thus does away with the meaning of stable objects, for the
‘being’ of things or ideas can only have meaning insofar as they relate to their surroundings as
constitutive parts of space. On the contrary, being becomes movement and movement is expres-
sion—the transformation of time in becoming as part of matter and thought. In this way, video is
the very expression of incessant change, a constant movement of relational forces that is not simply
contained in the screen.

In Cinema 1, Deleuze sets the stage by conceptualizing the cinematographic image to find its
being not in a succession of images, but in the very mode of machinic movement itself. He then
creates a taxonomy of how various images of the film connect creatively with the World beyond
the frame in the forms of perception-image (the fetishistic gaze) and affection-image (typically the
image of a face that shows changes in affective intensities by breaking down the sensory-motor
coordination of the image). In cinematography, these images are then typically followed by action-
image (the ‘realist’ image where events occur in a commonsensical world of agency). These differ-
ent types of images in movement are then combined in various ways and sequences to produce
encounters with the viewers.

Yet, it would seem that Deleuze’s true cinematographic project starts in Cinema 2, where he
sheds his ties to images that can be approached commonsensically as signaletic material (Bogue,
2003). Here, he reconfigures the very notion of time itself and argues that contemporary cinema
has dismantled its tendencies to depict a stable world. This happened when the ‘movement-image
of the so-called classical gave away, in the post-war period, to a direct time-image’ (Deleuze, 1989:
xi). In short, time-image denotes an aesthetic stance in filmmaking that problematizes representa-
tional or ‘realist’ images. Such a mode of expression makes the screen a pure virtuality that con-
nects to possible thought itself without attempting to produce an illusion on reality. For Deleuze,
before the advent of cinema as the time-image, characters still retained agency over the world in a
way that they remained primary to the flows of time and their surroundings. However, with time-
image, the realization of the illusory nature of cinema burst out in full force, becoming ‘a cinema

326 Organization 25(3)

of the seer and no longer of the agent [on the screen]’ (Deleuze, 1989: 126). This meant that cine-
matographic image was no longer confined to commonsensical worlds thus becoming increasingly
expressive. Through time-image the interest shifted from depicting realist worlds into problematiz-
ing the ‘reality’ of the world we live in by experimenting with ‘impossible worlds’ or new possibili-
ties of thought itself. Time-images are not attempting for reality, but neither do they make the truth
or falsity of the image indiscernible but rather ‘undecidable or inexplicable’ (Bogue, 2003: 147).
These tensions work by forcing new thinking on the viewer, and they are in their fictions more
‘truthful’ than images that are presented in the guise of reality (Bogue, 2003). For us, all images are
simulacra of the fetishistic camera-eye and the selective editing desk that have nothing to do with
reproducing a reality—not even a gentle ‘refraction of the real’ nor a ‘halfway between the fic-
tional and non-fictional’ suggested by Wood and Brown (2011: 523) regarding their documentary
film. In this sense, there is no neutral or innocent image of representation, and thus all images are
inherently intentional: political acts of habit and preference, especially if they thrust the viewer into
unforeseen and unimagined thought. They show us, through montage, impossible ways of thinking
about the world, thus forcing creative thought through this violent encounter; we come to think in
new ways (Massumi, 2002; Olkowski, 1999).

It is exactly in this way that we wish to consider videography, not as a ‘mirror’ of representation
but as a ‘crystal’ of expression (Deleuze, 1989: 274). But, how can academics construct such
thought-provoking encounters through videography? We next turn to our expressive videography
case and elaborate on how committing to the ontological stance described above played out in our
entire filmmaking process.

Expressing videographic monstrous organizing

Our videography explores the organizing and emergent unfolding of the ‘dubstep’ electronic music
scene. The film is based on our filmed ethnographic encounters with the scene and its participants
in 2008–2012 that we have presented in more detail elsewhere (see Hietanen and Rokka, 2015).
Following Thanem’s (2006) articulation of monstrous organizing, the film is our expression of how
the rapidly evolving music scene and bass-driven minimalist electronic soundscape unfolds mon-
strously as a result of the double articulation of content and expression. The point is that we do not
see the formation of stable orders or structures, but rather the various coming-into-being and
unfolding of desiring intensities. These organize in a flux of relations among underground DJ/
producers, commercial market intermediaries, technologies, and online connectivity. For the pur-
poses of this companion essay, we detail five methodological considerations that help demonstrate
how the expressive ontology described above guided and inspired our videography production. We
must also mention that our application of Deleuzean immanent logics is at best partial and
restrained, as we still wished to produce a videography that could be approached by viewers more
accustomed to orthodox representational approaches. In effect, we have erected something haunted
by structural orders, but these are already fully populated by the seeds of breakdown and
disintegration.

Expressive storytelling

Our aim was to craft a story from videotaped events and encounters that had the capacity to evoke
ideas, new relations, and perspectives in the viewers. Thus, instead of trying to transparently show
‘what is’, we hoped to provoke the viewer to think about the tensions at play through the encoun-
ters in our …

RAM

https://doi.org/10.1177/2051570718754762

Recherche et Applications en Marketing
2018, Vol. 33(3) 106 –121

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DOI: 10.1177/2051570718754762

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Introduction

When the Lumière brothers invented the moving
image, the first question that emerged must have
been: what can the film do? It was the time of silent
cinema, where the image was exclusively based on
visuality and movement. It was undoubtedly also the
first time that worthy filmic topics and subjects were
being considered and chosen. The first-known film
screening by the Lumières took place at the Salon

Indien du Grand Café in Paris (December 28, 1895)
and featured 10 short films. Interestingly, many of
these early films focused on describing relatively
mundane activities and flows of everyday life: work-
ers exiting the factory, the gardener and blacksmith
at work, people moving about a street corner, a baby
eating, fishing and the sea. But already then, some of
the films were seemingly much more ambitious in

On positioning videography as a
tool for theorizing

Joonas Rokka
EMLYON Business School, Lifestyle Research Centre, France

Joel Hietanen
Aalto University School of Business, Finland and Stockholm Business School, University of Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract
The purpose of this article is to critically examine videography in the repertoire of visual approaches and
delineate a positioning that would be distinctive, inspiring and daring. Notably, we advocate for alternative
video-based approaches that expand the field beyond the dominant ‘representational mode’ by embracing
the evocative power of video, and it is only in this way that videographic research could emerge into a
self-standing research method without falling under other representational orders of analysis such as being
read ‘like text’ or frozen into photographic ‘stills’. In so doing, we develop an image of thought of consumer
videographies, where the affective forces of video are harnessed towards ‘theorizing’ in an emergent rather
than descriptive form.

Keywords
documentary film, non-representation, representation, video ethnography, videography

Corresponding author:
Joonas Rokka, EMLYON Business School, Lifestyle Research Centre, 23 Avenue Guy de Collongue, 69134 Ecully Cedex, France.
Email: [email protected]

754762RME0010.1177/2051570718754762Recherche et Applications en Marketing (English Edition)Rokka and Hietanen
research-article2018

Review Article

Rokka and Hietanen 107

their aims. They did not seek to only describe the
passing of ordinary events, but were rather oriented
towards provoking powerful emotions and reac-
tions. Notably, they sought to express spectacles that
would potentially shock, trouble or amaze the spec-
tators. Examples included a ‘trick shot’ of steam
train bustling right towards the camera – which
made people run away from the film screening, ter-
rified from the felt sensation of being caught under
the train. Other filmic ‘illusions’ were created, for
example, by playing film backwards which resulted
in ‘impossible’ or ‘unreal’, yet thought-provoking
images and encounters.

Fast forward to contemporary times and we are
now living ‘the age of video’ (Russell, 1999). Video
has quickly replaced cinema as the most dominant
single cultural form (Denzin, 1995) and has become
among other things the most sought-after content in
the Internet.1 Since the early moments of filmmak-
ing described above, a multitude of aesthetic genres
and practices have proliferated, including drama,
fiction, propaganda, advertising, documentary film,
experimental art film and amateur/consumer-made
film. While the academia has been slow to adapt to
these developments, some scholarly disciplines
such as visual anthropology (Banks and Ruby,
2011; MacDougall, 2006; Pink, 2007; Ruby, 2005)
has enjoyed a long preoccupation with the medium.
Equally, videographic research has been present in
consumer research for almost two decades (Belk
and Kozinets, 2005b; Dion, 2007; Kozinets and
Belk, 2006; Veer, 2014) and is regularly featured in
premium conferences and also published in journal
special issues (Belk and Kozinets, 2005a; Caldwell
and Henry, 2010; Rokka et al., in press). Yet, despite
increasing emphasis on video-based research meth-
ods, the field suffers from a lack of ontological,
epistemological and methodological considerations
that pertain to film and its specific vocabulary (see
Hietanen et al., 2014). In addition, critical commen-
taries have pointed out that the existing work strug-
gles to balance between scientific versus artistic
(Belk and Kozinets, 2005b; Petr et al., 2015; Wood
and Brown, 2012); visual ethnographic versus doc-
umentary film (De Valck et al., 2009); made versus
collaborative films (Chatzidakis and Maclaran, in
press; Whiting et al., 2016) and representational
versus expressive (Hietanen et al., 2014; Schembri

and Boyle, 2013) mindsets. Moreover, the term
‘videography’ has been used very loosely to refer to
nearly any form of academic film production, rang-
ing from ethnographic film, to researcher-made
footage, to any kind of footage or video data
sources, making it nearly impossible to distinguish
its nature or modalities.

The objective of this study is to ask how can vid-
eography be defined and positioned distinctively in
relation to other existing filmmaking practices, and
how can it be thought of as tool for theorizing. We
begin by critically assessing closely related but
often conflated categories of visual ethnography,
documentary film and experimental non-fiction
film and then define videography as the practice of
crafting research expressions and theoretical argu-
ments on the moving image. In doing so, we draw
parallels with different modes of filmic research but
also challenge their dominant representational
stance – that is, their implicit reliance on the video
medium as a ‘verisimilitude-machine’ that can ‘cap-
ture’ and thus faithfully recreate ‘reality’. Later, we
also begin the work of developing the idea of theo-
rizing with videographies from an emergent rather
than descriptive perspective, making theorizing into
a praxis that arises as an ongoing and open-ended
process through affective encounters between
researchers and fieldwork and the viewers of the
videographic work. We argue this notion has the
potential to broaden the way we think of video-
graphic research and its impact beyond conven-
tional academic audiences. Working towards this
aim several videography examples are offered to
illuminate our arguments. However, our aim is not
to provide an exhaustive list of existing videogra-
phies or the nature of their contributions since this
has already been provided elsewhere (see Belk et
al., 2017).We hope this can add to and facilitate the
discussion about the ontology and vocabulary of
videography in consumer and marketing research
and help the field advance in novel directions.

Conceptual template for
video-based approaches

This section offers a review of some of the most
influential video-based research approaches. We
pay particular attention to their underlying logics in

108 Recherche et Applications en Marketing (English Edition) 33(3)

relation to their ontology and epistemology, repre-
sentation and reality, assessment, as well as nature
and focus of audio–visual storytelling and argumen-
tation. After a closer examination of video ethnog-
raphy, documentary film, experimental non-fiction
film, the section ends with a proposition for posi-
tioning academic videography. Each category will
be illuminated by means of examples of prior work
and, to aid the reader, the conceptual template is
summarized in Table 1.

Video ethnography

Spanning close to a century, anthropological film-
makers have pioneered the development and use of
film-based approaches in academia (Banks and
Ruby, 2011; MacDougall, 2006; Pink, 2007; Ruby,
2005). They have led the way particularly in using
moving images in their aims for ethnographic repre-
sentation of culture, commonly by means of pro-
ducing edited ethnographic films or videos. While
visual anthropology more generally entails the pro-
duction of multiple forms of images, photos and
video – often mainly for data collection and analyti-
cal purposes – Pink (2007) defines ethnographic
video to refer to ‘any video footage that is of ethno-
graphic interest or is used to represent ethnographic
knowledge’ (p. 169). This notion implies that ethno-
graphic video shot by the researcher can basically
assume any form, length, style or convention, as
long as it is used as part of ethnographic research
and to represent knowledge about that research to
mainly academic audiences.

The roots of video ethnography run deep in the
history of anthropological thought, and the earliest
ethnographic films can be traced back to the early
20th century, right after the invention by the
Lumières. Illustrative of the nature of films in this
early, ‘realist’ filmmaking period is notably the pio-
neering film by explorer Robert J. Flaherty –
Nanook of the North (1922). Nowadays considered
as the forefather of ethnographic film, Flaherty
aimed to ‘realistically’ describe the everyday life
and struggles of Inuit people in North Canada.
Similarly, in the 1930s, Gregory Bateson and
Margaret Mead produced iconic ethnographic films
that, in essence, tried to ‘capture’ the complex ritu-
als by natives in Bali and New Guinea. The practice

was further proliferated and revolutionized as film-
ing technology was improved, especially with the
light 16 mm cameras that became popular in the
1950s. At this time, several ethnographers, includ-
ing the French school led by Jean Rouch,2 devel-
oped a movement around cinémaverité, that is the
‘cinema of the real’. Characteristic of this line of
filmic productions was the aim to represent the
‘truth’ as seen by the filmmaker as objectively and
unobtrusively as possible. Taking increasing inspi-
ration from a scientific mindset, it was also sug-
gested that ethnographic films should try to ensure
scientific value by avoiding close-ups and instead
attempt to film whole contexts, activities and
actions with minimal editing and intervention by or
subjectivity of the researcher (e.g. Heider, 1976).
The focus of such ethnographic films was thus in
the belief that it was possible to represent ‘whole
cultures’ on film (Pink, 2007).

The break with this realist mode of filmmaking,
however, emerged in full force in the late 1980s
with the ‘crisis of representation’ that hit social sci-
ences and anthropology in formidable ways. This
pushed ethnographic films towards new perspec-
tives, in which objective representation was prob-
lematized and a more subjective and reflexive mode
was being promoted (Dion, 2007; Pink, 2007; Ruby,
1982). This meant that increasing emphasis was
placed on the filmic approaches that sought to chal-
lenge the objectifying nature of anthropology and
instead embrace the subjectivity of the researchers.
This resulted in related shifts towards examining
the individuals’ experiences and role as part of
social and cultural worlds (MacDougall, 1997,
2006; Pink, 2007), and also to the realization that
researchers are active participants in the negotiation
and co-creation of social realities, by asking ques-
tions, talking and by shooting (and appearing in)
films. Moreover, experimentation begun towards
collaborative film productions, as researchers are
increasingly handing video cameras over to partici-
pants (e.g. Pink, 2007; Whiting et al., 2016) and
even asking them to also edit and produce the entire
video in collaboration with researchers (Chatzidakis
and Maclaran, in press), adding reflexivity into the
process of knowledge production. Here it may also
be useful to realize that even the aforementioned
‘realist’ accounts by Flaherty were filmed largely as

Rokka and Hietanen 109

T
a
b

le
1

.
V

id
eo

-b
as

ed
r

es
ea

rc
h

ap
pr

o
ac

he
s

in
c

o
m

pa
ri

so
n.

V
id

eo
e

th
no

gr
ap

hy
D

o
cu

m
en

ta
ry

f
ilm

Ex
pe

ri
m

en
ta

l n
o
n-

fic
ti
o
n

V
id

eo
gr

ap
hy

R
el

at
io

n
to

r
ea

lit
y

So
ci

al
c

o
ns

tr
uc

ti
vi

st
; d

ep
ar

tu
re

fr

o
m

s
ci

en
ti
fic

r
ea

lis
m

D
o
m

in
an

tl
y

re
al

is
t

(e
xp

o
si

to
ry

m

o
de

);
a

lt
ho

ug
h

o
th

er
s

ta
nc

es

co
-e

xi
st

(
i.e

. p
o
et

ic
, r

ef
le

xi
ve

m

o
de

)

N
o
n-

re
pr

es
en

ta
ti
o
na

l (
i.e

.
re

al
it
y

is
a

f
lu

x
o
f
em

er
ge

nt

re
la

ti
o
ns

)

M
o
re

-t
ha

n-
re

pr
es

en
ta

ti
o
na

l;
im

po
rt

an
ce

o
f
es

ch
ew

in
g

re
pr

es
en

ta
ti
o
n

as
a

s
o
le

fo

cu
s

o
f
in

qu
ir

y
R

el
at

io
n

to
v

id
eo

a
s

a
m

ed
iu

m
o

f
kn

o
w

le
dg

e
pr

o
du

ct
io

n

V
id

eo
is

r
ep

re
se

nt
at

io
na

l
V

id
eo

is
r

ep
re

se
nt

at
io

na
l

V
id

eo
is

r
el

at
io

na
l

V
id

eo
is

r
el

at
io

na
l

R
el

at
io

n
to

v
id

eo
a

s
m

et
ho

do
lo

gy
V

id
eo

is
‘a

w
in

do
w

t
o
t

he

w
o
rl

d’
, c

ap
ab

le
o

f
ca

pt
ur

in
g

‘a
ut

he
nt

ic
’ e

xp
er

ie
nc

es
a

nd

so
ci

al
/s

ym
bo

lic
w

o
rl

ds

V
id

eo
is

a
t

ra
ns

pa
re

nt

do
cu

m
en

ta
ti
o
n

to
o
l w

it
ne

ss
in

g
th

e
‘r

ea
l w

o
rl

d’

V
id

eo
is

a
‘l

ab
o
ra

to
ry

’ f
o
r

cr
it
ic

al
e

xp
er

im
en

ta
ti
o
n

w
it
h

th
e

po
lit

ic
s

an
d

co
nv

en
ti
o
ns

o
f
re

pr
es

en
ta

ti
o
n

V
id

eo
is

a
n

ex
pr

es
si

ve

to
o
l,

ca
pa

bl
e

o
f
th

e
ev

o
ki

ng
p

o
w

er
fu

l a
ffe

ct
iv

e
re

la
ti
o
ns

a
nd

e
nc

o
un

te
rs

Em
ph

as
is

o
f

ar
gu

m
en

ta
ti
o
n

V
is

ua
l a

nd
t

ex
tu

al

ar
gu

m
en

ta
ti
o
n;

b
as

ed
o

n
et

hn
o
gr

ap
he

r’
s

su
bj

ec
ti
ve

ex

pe
ri

en
ce

s
an

d
in

te
r

su
bj

ec
ti
ve

n
eg

o
ti
at

io
ns

V
is

ua
l i

s
o
ft

en
s

ec
o
nd

ar
y

to
t

ex
t

an
d

sp
o
ke

n
w

o
rd

;
ar

gu
m

en
ta

ti
o
n

ba
se

d
o
n

‘o
bj

ec
ti
ve

f
ac

ts
’ o

r
te

st
im

o
ni

es

V
id

eo
s

pe
ak

s
fo

r
it
se

lf;

in
te

rp
re

ta
ti
o
n

is
le

ft
t

o

th
e

vi
ew

er
a

s
te

xt
ua

l
ar

gu
m

en
ta

ti
o
n

is
o

ft
en

o
m

it
te

d

V
is

ua
l a

nd
t

ex
tu

al
is

cr

ea
ti
ve

ly
c

o
m

bi
ne

d
fo

r
ex

pr
es

si
ng

t
he

o
re

ti
ca

l
ar

gu
m

en
ts

t
ha

t
‘t
ak

e
si

de
s’

R
o
le

o
f
th

e
re

se
ar

ch
er

Pa
rt

ic
ip

at
o
ry

a
nd

r
ef

le
xi

ve
; y

et

m
ai

n
ro

le
is

t
o
e

ns
ur

e
‘lo

ya
l’

re
pr

es
en

ta
ti
o
n

o
f
va

ri
o
us

su

bj
ec

ti
vi

ti
es

O
bj

ec
ti
ve

c
o
m

m
un

ic
at

o
r;

in

vi
si

bl
e

o
r

hi
dd

en
in

t
he

f
ilm

,
so

m
et

im
es

e
m

bo
dy

in
g

‘t
he


vo

ic
e-

o
f-

go
d’

O
bs

er
va

ti
o
na

l;
fa

ci
lit

at
o
r

o
f
cr

it
ic

al
a

nd
p

o
w

er
fu

l
en

co
un

te
rs

(
w

it
h

th
e

w
o
rl

d)

Pe
rf

o
rm

at
iv

e;
t

ak
es

s
id

es

th
ro

ug
h

ex
pr

es
si

o
n

o
f

th
eo

re
ti
ca

l a
rg

um
en

ts

ab
o
ut

t
he

s
o
ci

al
, c

ul
tu

ra
l

an
d

m
at

er
ia

l w
o
rl

d
R

el
at

io
n

to
t

he
o
ry

bu

ild
in

g
Fo

cu
s

o
n

de
sc

ri
bi

ng
a

nd

re
pr

es
en

ti
ng

e
th

no
gr

ap
hi

c
kn

o
w

le
dg

e

Fo
cu

s
is

o
n

ev
id

en
ce

-b
as

ed

st
o
ry

te
lli

ng
a

nd
‘p

ro
bl

em

so
lv

in
g’

Fo
cu

s
is

o
n

pu
re

e
xp

re
ss

io
n

an
d

o
bs

er
va

ti
o
n

Fo
cu

s
is

o
n

de
ve

lo
pi

ng

an
d

ex
pr

es
si

ng
t

he
o
re

ti
ca

l
ar

gu
m

en
ts

B
as

is
o

f
as

se
ss

m
en

t
C

ap
ac

it
y

fo
r

pr
o
du

ci
ng

et

hn
o
gr

ap
hi

c
de

sc
ri

pt
io

n
an

d
in

si
gh

t
th

at
is

u
nb

ia
se

d
by

t
he

re

se
ar

ch
er

C
ap

ac
it
y

fo
r

su
pp

o
rt

in
g

ar
gu

m
en

ta
ti
o
n

w
it
h

co
nv

in
ci

ng

an
d

se
am

le
ss

e
vi

de
nc

e
(t

es
ti
m

o
ni

es
, w

it
ne

ss
in

g)

C
ap

ac
it
y

fo
r

ex
pr

es
si

ng
n

o
ve

l
an

d
cr

it
ic

al
p

er
sp

ec
ti
ve

s
an

d
en

co
un

te
rs

C
ap

ac
it
y

fo
r

ge
ne

ra
ti
ng

th

eo
re

ti
ca

l i
ns

ig
ht

s
an

d
in

vo
ke

im
ag

in
at

io
ns

o
f

so
ci

al
c

ha
ng

e
vi

a
vi

de
o
’s

af

fe
ct

iv
e

po
w

er
s

110 Recherche et Applications en Marketing (English Edition) 33(3)

reconstructed sets, and it has later been argued that
even then such pioneering work ‘only saw false
problems’ with trying to keep a sharp distinction
between the ‘captured real’ and the ‘produced per-
formance’ (see Deleuze, 1989).

Video ethnography was soon characterized by
approaches that aimed to question the dominant
research paradigms, in trying to critically examine
the role of the visual in production of knowledge
and non-linguistic ways of knowing (Barker, 2009;
Marks, 2000), as a means for producing ‘elusive
modes of knowledge’, including tacit, aesthetic and
embodied aspects of lived experiences (Toraldo et
al., 2016). As observed by MacDougall (2006), the
visual allows us to re-examine the ‘relation between
seeing, thinking and knowing, and the complex
nature of thought itself’ (p. 2). This is because we
see and give meaning with our entire bodies – not
just conscious thought – and any image we make
also carries with it ‘the imprint of our bodies’ (p.
3). In short, our bodies produce meaning and mean-
ing guides our attention and thought further. This
‘sensory’ aspect and sensitivity to how ‘senses
come together’ via the moving image has thus been
a major locus for much of the video ethnographic
work (MacDougall, 2006; Merchant, 2011; Pink,
2009).

Facilitated by the possibilities of cheaper and
more efficient digital cameras towards the turn of
the 21st century, video ethnography has evolved to
an entire new era of research filmmaking and dis-
semination of audiovisual knowledge (e.g. Pink,
2011). One advantage has been the fact that research
filmmakers are increasingly freed from the agendas
and obligations set up by TV channels and funding
needs, as video production is increasingly flexible
and adapted to serve the agenda of research knowl-
edge production. The other is that much more video
material becomes available and propelled via the
online streaming and social media sites.

The science versus art debate around video eth-
nography has taken multiple turns ever since the
earliest films. However, today most are likely to
agree that it is unavoidable to break the strict divi-
sion between ‘research footage’ and ‘cinematic/
artistic footage’ (e.g. Pink, 2007). Footage can no
longer be seriously thought of as an ‘objective
record’ of social life, and instead, the focus is

shifting on considerations about how theories can
inspire, inform, or explain researcher-made footage
and film. What is troubling, however, is that the
anthropological tradition even today still clings on
to knowledge as bound to words and text. For exam-
ple, there is less focus on examining what a video
makes us feel and more on how the video can be
‘read’, ‘coded’ and ‘translated’ into text and dis-
course (see Gylfe et al., 2016; Schembri and Boyle,
2013). Equally, as observed by Hietanen et al.
(2014b), the ontology of video ethnographic work,
especially in consumer and marketing research, is
firmly based on a representational mode and in
some cases even influenced by a quasi-realist film-
making vocabulary.

Documentary film

Documentary film is the broadest territory that will
be covered here, not least because of its important
influence on existing videographic filmmaking
practice in marketing and consumer research (De
Valck et al., 2009). Essentially, it entails an inform-
ing logic that requires a video-based representation,
case, or argument about the (historical) world. The
main differences between video ethnography and
documentary film concern their relation to aca-
demia, as well as the extent to which they draw on
cinematographic practices such as scripting, staging,
rehearsal, editing and performances that we associ-
ate more closely with fiction. Bill Nichols (2001), a
pioneer of documentary film theory, agrees that the
definitions of documentary film tend to change over
time, but in general can be summarized as the ‘crea-
tive treatment of actuality’.3 This suggests that tradi-
tion relies heavily on addressing ‘actuality’ – about
something that actually happened in the real or lived
(and historical) world and very often about some-
one, a real (historical) person. Moreover, a docu-
mentary is essentially ‘a representation of the world
we already occupy’ (Nichols, 2001: 9, emphasis in
original). They are distinctive from other means of
documentation in that they embrace the film’s abil-
ity to convey an ‘impression of authenticity’, that is,
a powerful impression made possible by moving
image. Despite aims to ‘witness’ and document (his-
torical) events, however, the ‘creative treatment’ is
evident and it is recognized that all documentary

Rokka and Hietanen 111

films are, still, creative endeavours that also entail a
creative vision and craft.

For the purposes of this article, we will next
focus on Nichol’s framework of six documentary
film modes that can be identified based on their
tendencies and nature (see Table 2 for more
details). These are not mutually exclusive or ideal-
istic categories, but rather prominent tendencies in
conventions that documentary films draw on.
While they cannot be put on a continuum, the
clearest opposing extremes are the expository and
poetic modes. Expository mode is by far the most
dominant and pertinent of these as it is the mode
commonly used for television channels (e.g.
news, historical and biographical documentaries).
Stemming from evidently realist assumptions, the
expository mode aims for an accurate representa-
tion of historical events put together in a manner
that rhetorics (narration and voice-over) are
emphasized as the principal storytelling device
accompanied by witnessing ‘authentic’ images and
testimonies by key characters or experts of the
story (e.g. Goldman Sachs – Power and Peril). On
the other side of the spectrum is the poetic mode,

which is clearly a much more marginal and alter-
native filmmaking practice. Poetic mode, while
addressing the ‘real world’ as well, takes film more
as a medium through which images of the world
can be experienced. It thus considers the film more
as a ‘relation’ than a representation, that emerges
as viewers are put in an encounter with new knowl-
edge, perspective and thought (also Cubitt, 1993).
The poetic mode embraces the artistic qualities of
the film to the fullest, in exploring various rhythms,
associations, contrast and light (e.g. Man with the
Movie Camera).

In addition, two other documentary modes stand
out in light of our study, as they also commonly
inform video-based consumer research. The first is
the participatory mode where the filmmaker has an
important role in negotiating meanings and in con-
structing ‘a view’ into the world. A notable feature of
this approach is the fact that the filmmaker can be
heard or seen in the video, chronicling or ‘living
through’ the events that are being witnessed (e.g.
Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog). In contrast to this,
one is the observational mode where the filmmaker,
instead, attempts to stay as invisible as possible, or

Table 2. Modes of documentary film (adapted from Nichols, 2001).

Mode Goal Approach

Expository mode Dissemination of information or
solving a dilemma or problem

Emphasis on rhetorics and often omnipresent and
‘objective’ (voice-of-god style) narration. Images stand
as ‘evidence’ for the narration but are by nature
secondary in the line of argumentation.

Participatory mode To produce the film in
interaction, collaboration,
or confrontation with the
participants/subjects

The filmmaker is present and visible/audible in the
film and in interaction with the subjects. The meaning
or interpretation is negotiated through interaction
process

Observational
mode

To ‘unobtrusively’ observe and
witness, letting the viewers
decide on the interpretation ‘on
their own’

Footage is mostly shot in a manner that the filmmaker
is not exposed, following ‘a-fly-on-the-wall’ logic. The
power of witnessing serves as the key persuasion and
storytelling mechanism. Little or no rhetoric content

Reflexive mode To aid the audience in
understanding the process of
constructing film

Involves a critical attitude, questioning and de-
mystifying the documentary filmmaking practice and
reconsidering its implications

Performative mode To explain how the filmmaker
is constructing his or her
subjective truths

Involves presentation of the filmmaker in the film
and in search for the ‘truths’. Forceful rhetoric
argumentation and exposition of an agenda

Poetic mode Subjective interpretation of
subject(s)

Poetic expression in editing, exploring associations,
patterns that involve temporal rhythms and spatial
juxtapositions. Little or no rhetoric content

112 Recherche et Applications en Marketing (English Edition) 33(3)

more precisely ‘a-fly-in-the-wall’. Here the footage
is often filmed over long periods of times, some-
times with fixed cameras, and presented with mini-
mal or little editing, in order to suggest the footage is
more authentic evidence to the viewers in this way.

The practice of video work in the context of doc-
umentary filmmaking can be perhaps seen as the
least preoccupied by assessing the nature of its
knowledge products. While documentary film is
certainly deeply involved with creating powerful
images, a journalistic style generally spans this
approach, most clearly found in nature documenta-
ries of even the newer type politically oriented work
where the ‘researcher’ takes a commanding and
central role in the production of events (such as
Bowling for Columbine, Super-Size Me or The Act
of Killing) – which is the instance of performative
mode, according to Nichol’s typology.

Experimental non-fiction film

As formulated by Russell (1999), experimental
non-fiction film can be seen ‘as a kind of laboratory
in which the politics of representation and the con-
ventions of observational cinema are brought under
scrutiny’ (p. xii). This emerges from the interpene-
tration of avant-garde artistic and ethnographic film
that embraces cultural criticism in challenging vari-
ous structures inscribed in conventional forms of
cultural representation and that seeks to make
parameters of cultural practice ‘newly visible’. This
arguably ‘post-modern’ film is not as much a form,
but rather a critical tendency of inquiry that engages
social theory with aesthetic experimentation, video
production practices, gaze and spectatorship. In
other words, with experimental film, ethnography
becomes less of a scientific practice and more a
critical engagement with culture, as means of ‘read-
ing and animating it’ and not aiming to transpar-
ently represent it. The key here is that the human
condition becomes more like an ‘ongoing cultural
encounter, translation and transition’ (Russell,
1999: xvii) that can be interrogated via the moving
image as a performance (Seregina, 2017). Yet, in
contrast to classic ethnographic filmmaking and
mainstream documentary film, a more fluid concep-
tion of reality is embraced, as well as a view on his-
tory as a ‘fantastic, flexible and inauthentic text’.

Examples of experimental ethnographic films usu-
ally address topics such as gender, race, colonialism
and critical representations of minority or ‘other’
groups (e.g. Mulvey, 1989; also Denzin, 2001).

In the experimental non-fiction films, meaning is
not ‘closed’ but it escapes and evades representation
(Russell, 1999: 5). Neither is the image seen as onto-
logically and indexically linked to something ‘out
there’ in the real world, nor to ‘fixed’ bodies – but
rather it engages ambivalent and ‘open’ bodies of the
subjects, the viewers and the film in a dynamic and
haptic relationality (Barker, 2009). The film’s body …

1486

� 2015 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc. ● Vol. 41 ● April 2015
All rights reserved. 0093-5301/2015/4106-0009$10.00. DOI: 10.1086/680668

Timeflow: How Consumption Practices
Shape Consumers’ Temporal Experiences

NIKLAS WOERMANN
JOONAS ROKKA

While the importance of the temporal dimension for both positive and negative
consumption experiences has been well understood, no general theory exists to
explain how consumers’ temporal experiences come about. We theorize temporal
experiences as an effect of performing consumption practices in order to move
from assessing isolated contextual variables to a more holistic understanding. The
timeflow of a practice is defined as its ability to evoke an experienced temporality
that cannot be reduced to either subjective “inner” time or cosmic “outer” time. On
the basis of a longitudinal ethnography of temporality in two lifestyle sports—
freeskiing and paintball—we find that five practice elements shape temporal ex-
perience: material set-up, bodily routines and skills, teleoaffective structures, rules,
and cultural understandings. Misalignments of practice elements induce experi-
ences of temporal drag or rush associated with experiences such as boredom and
stress. We contribute to prior research on consumption experiences, waiting, and
servicescapes.

Soon, it is my turn. The waiting will be over.
Damn. Under different circumstances, I can
hardly endure queuing, impatiently keeping
myself busy until finally being first in line. But
this time, I wish I could keep waiting a little

Niklas Woermann ([email protected]) is assistant professor of market-
ing, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense
M, Denmark and associate researcher, University of Constance, Univer-
sitätsstraße 10, D-78464 Konstanz, Germany. Joonas Rokka (joonas
[email protected]) is associate professor of marketing, NEOMA Busi-
ness School, 1 rue du Maréchal Juin, PB 215, F-76825 Mont-Saint-Aignan,
France. Correspondence: Niklas Woermann. The research was partially
funded by the MediaMark project at the Aalto University School of Busi-
ness, Helsinki, as well as grants from the Swiss National Science Foun-
dation (SNF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). This article is
based on the authors’ dissertations. The authors extend their appreciation
to the editor, the associate editor, and three JCR reviewers for their in-
valuable comments on this research. The authors are deeply indebted to
our informants for sharing their passion and experiences, and looking after
two researchers on battlefields and steep mountainsides. The authors also
wish to thank (in no particular order) Søren Askegaard, Benjamin Hart-
mann, Thomas Eberle, Joel Hietanen, Johanna Moisander, Elizabeth Shove,
Thomas Derek Robinson, Allison Hui, and Avi Shankar for their knowl-
edgeable guidance, friendly advice and insightful comments on earlier
versions of this manuscript.

Eileen Fischer and Mary Frances Luce served as editors and Eileen Fi-
scher served as associate editor for this article.

Electronically published February 16, 2015

longer. Keep standing here, in line with fellow
freeskiers on the slope some 50 meters above
the massive snow ramp. Keep watching others
as they descend down toward the kicker, then
swiftly ski through the transition before leap-
ing into the air, performing rapid successions
of somersaults, or perhaps multiple rotations.
How will my own descent end? I will find out
soon enough—too soon in fact! So I try to
relax by shaking my arms and legs a bit, suck-
ing in a deep breath of cold Alpine air. “I will
be OK, so just let it happen already; trust your
skill, your equipment, and the designers of the
ramp!” No time to hesitate. I grab my ski poles
a little more tightly and push myself over the
edge. “Here I come!” The first moments of
acceleration are just fine, but although I go
faster and faster, the kicker hardly seems to
approach me. The wind begins hissing in my
ears. This is taking way too long. My stomach
tenses as I feel the acceleration dragging me
downward. I stare at the kicker in front of me
as I speed toward it. Then the moment van-
ishes, and suddenly the ramp is a wall of snow
towering in front of me. I push back against
the compression of my knees, caused by the
transition, and zoom up the ramp. As I jump
I spread out my arms and rotate my torso force-
fully to the left, causing a full rotation while
I sail through the air. For a brief moment, time
freezes as I become weightless. I am now a

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WOERMANN AND ROKKA 1487

passenger of my body much more than an ac-
tor. I watch the snow-covered surroundings
slowly swirl around me as I frantically try to
keep my balance. Suddenly, the moment of
weightlessness is over, and I am sucked back
down to the ground. Luckily the landing zone
appears before my eyes just an instant before
the inevitable impact. I hear a loud Whumb!
as my skis smack onto the snow, and the force
of the impact jars my body. Before I know it,
I am already a few meters below the landing
zone and I brake with my skis. A wave of
euphoria floods through my body. I made it!
(Field note from a training session, Penken
Park, Mayrhofen, Austria)

T emporality is a fundamental dimension of life and anunavoidable aspect of consumer behavior (Cotte, Rath-
neswar, and Mick 2004; Feldman and Hornik 1981; Hirsch-
man 1987; Hornik 1984; Shove, Trentmann, and Wilk 2009;
Taylor 1994). However, as this field note about the lifestyle
sport of freeskiing illustrates, time is not only a frame within
which consumption takes place at a particular time or in
intervals but an inherent feature of the consumption expe-
rience itself. The quote suggests that time is neither solely
an abstract and external physical dimension nor a universal,
homogenous stream but is immediately and intensely felt.
It is directly intertwined with breathing, fearing, moving
about, and being there. Inescapable and sometimes over-
whelming in positive or negative ways, temporal experience
functions as a mediator of the quality and attractiveness of
a market offering (Arnould 2005).

As a phenomenon, temporality is important in a variety
of consumer research and practitioner contexts. Consumers
may, for instance, lie happily on the beach for hours despite
(or perhaps because of) the uneventfulness of the activity
but be impatient and frustrated after mere minutes of waiting
in line (Kellaris and Kent 1992; Maister 1985; Taylor 1994).
Likewise, marketers design themed retail spaces to prevent
shopping experiences from becoming hectic and thus stress-
ful but also to preclude uneventfulness and thus potential
boredom (Arnould 2005; Baker and Cameron 1996; Kozi-
nets et al. 2004). In the same vein, entertainment products
such as movies, services like rafting (Arnould and Price
1993), and sports such as skydiving (Celci, Rose, and Leigh
1993) or motocross (Martin and Schouten 2014) purpose-
fully induce sudden changes in pace or tempo that keep
consumers captivated without stressing them too much.
These cases show that consumption activities evoke certain
temporal experiences for those taking part, and that expe-
rienced temporality can be an important factor for consumer
attitudes, wellbeing, or willingness to consume. What is
amiss in the literature, however, is a theoretical model that
links temporal experiences to the consumption practices
bringing them about. The consumption of fast food offers
an example. Surely its global success is not due merely to
the quality of the food. Rather, the very “fastness” of eating
fast food seems to add a crucial benefit or fulfill an essential
consumer need or want. The question is thus whether “fast-

ness” can be reduced to mere economic efficiency such as
time-saving benefits, or whether consumers also indulge in
a quick bite simply for the rush (Gleick 1999; Ritzer 1999).
Interestingly, consumers increasingly opt for “slow food”
or join the movement toward “slow living” (Honoré 2004;
Parkins 2004; Pink 2007).

In this article, we propose a theoretical framework for
capturing and conceptualizing the “fastness” or “slowness”
of consumption practices and explain how these two char-
acteristics emerge and change. We do so by introducing the
notion of the timeflow of consumption practices, defined as
a practice’s ability to induce a certain pattern of experienced
temporality in those performing the practice.

Our framework builds on the idea that social practices
are routinized ways of doing that are the building blocks of
social life, ranging from very common activities like talking,
walking, or eating to highly specialized pursuits like per-
forming freestyle skiing tricks (Reckwitz 2002a; Schatzki
2002). Practices consist of elements such as material set-
up, bodily skills and routines, teleoaffective structures, rules,
and cultural understandings that are being integrated when
the practices are performed (Shove, Pantzar, and Watson
2012). In our view, performing a certain practice envelops
practitioners in a phenomenal field (Merleau-Ponty 1962).
The performance evokes a certain experience, and the tem-
poral dimension of the phenomenal field is shaped by the
timeflow of the practice. We contend that all consumption
practices have timeflows that in general are pervasive, rel-
evant to consumers, and relatively stable.

Consumers routinely and systematically seek consump-
tion experiences that are made attractive by a particular
temporal flow, such as music genres characterized by dif-
ferent tempi. One example is clubbers indulging in ecstatic
soundscapes of bass music: “over the course of the night
the music changed tempo, varying from warm-up club ‘an-
thems’ to heavier ‘hard core’ house at the peak of the eve-
ning, to the trance like softer sounds that accompany the
‘chill out’ period that signals the end of the evening” (Gould-
ing et al. 2009, 763). Or consider the hectic experience of
adrenalin-drenched free-fall among skydivers: “You get a
lot of fun out of it, but there is something fast-paced. You’re
thinking in split seconds. Everything seems to be in a time
warp. Everything slows down. It’s total concentration”
(Celci et al. 1993, 8). These examples illustrate a funda-
mental point: the temporality of a consumption practice does
not equate to its temporal duration. Clubbers listen to “fast”
music for hours, while a few minutes of meditative sounds
might open up a brief but reinvigorating “short eternity” of
relaxation. For this reason, we introduce new ways of think-
ing about temporality by examining how experiential qual-
ities of temporality are inherently connected with con-
sumption practices.

Until now, experienced temporality has been conceptu-
alized in two ways in the literature. On the one hand it is
universalized, such that measured durations of universal or
absolute time are equated with corresponding consumer per-
ceptions of duration (Hornik 1984; Katz, Larson, and Larson

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1991; Kellaris and Kent 1992; Taylor 1994). On the other
hand, it is subjectivized and internalized, in that temporal
perception is discussed as an individual mental process pre-
figured by individual timestyles (Bergadaà 1990; Cotte et
al. 2004; Feldman and Hornik 1981; Usunier and Valette-
Florence 2007). We claim that both prior research and every-
day understanding of temporal scapes such as the rush of
an airport or the tranquility of a park suggest otherwise:
consumers engaged in similar activities in similar places
share very similar temporal experiences.

We call this previously established phenomenon timeflow.
The aim of this article is to tie temporal experiences evoked
by timeflow to consumption practices, instead of tying these
experiences either to universal wholes like cultures or the
society or to individual traits or unique events. In the sec-
tions that follow, we seek to (a) sensitize (Epp and Price
2008) and orient consumer researchers to the ability of con-
sumption practices to induce shared temporal experiences;
(b) empirically detail the nature of timeflow and how it is
shaped by five different elements of consumption practices
by examining two cases; (c) theorize a comprehensive model
that explains negative temporal experiences of drag or rush
as an effect of the misalignment of practice elements; and
(d) point to opportunities for further research opened up by
this novel understanding.

TIME AND TEMPORALITY IN
CONSUMER RESEARCH

Consumer researchers have studied time and temporality
from a number of perspectives, including economics, psy-
chology, sociology, and social psychology (Bergadaà 1990;
Hirschman 1987). Studies drawing on economics concep-
tualize time as a valuable intangible resource that exists in
limited and finite quantities. Consumers can use or acquire
time by trading another resource, such as money or effort
(Feldman and Hornik 1981; Jacoby, Szybillo, and Berning
1976; Leclerc, Schmitt, and Dubé 1995), and it can then be
allocated across consumption activities or tasks (Holbrook
and Lehman 1981; Kaufman, Lane, and Lindquist 1991;
Okada and Hoch 2003).

Psychological accounts stress the implications in con-
sumption experiences of an individual, subjective perception
of time (Graham 1981; Hirschman 1987; Hornik 1984; Kel-
laris and Kent 1992), time orientation (Bergadaà 1990), or
“timestyle” (Cotte et al. 2004; Usunier and Valette-Florence
2007). These studies have explored individual consumer
differences in judging duration, relationships between time
perception, and psychological qualities such as personality
or mood (Hornik 1993) but also how marketers can influence
time perception, for example, through service environment
design (Baker and Cameron 1996; Kellaris and Kent 1992).
In addition, consumer researchers have given attention to
the consequences of waiting time for service evaluation
(Taylor 1994) and product or service purchase decisions
(Tsai and Zhao 2011). These studies conceive of time as

episodes of a universally constant stream, a physical ab-
solute that individuals merely perceive or judge differently.

In contrast to the economic and psychological views of
time, sociological, and social-psychological perspectives
contend that time is a social construction based on the social-
cultural context in which it is valued (Hirschman 1987) and
that consumption lifestyles or collective identities of con-
sumers can influence temporal orientation (Brodowsky,
Granitz, and Anderson 2008). This last point of view cor-
responds with our conviction that social structures and pro-
cesses shape consumers’ uses and perceptions of time, and
that inquiry into the socially shaped temporal dimension of
consumption may offer important insights for consumer re-
search. In this vein, consumer researchers have been en-
couraged to examine the role of temporality in directing the
consumption process more fully (Arnould and Thompson
2005). While researchers in consumer culture theory have
arguably taken important steps toward this end, they have
mainly examined distinct, temporal experiences in the con-
text of services (Arnould 2005; Goulding et al. 2009). Others
have taken a macrolevel perspective on time frames, ad-
dressing the ways consumers use various material, symbolic,
and experiential resources to enact their identities and life-
styles in the course of different life cycles, life transitions,
and life stages (Arnould and Thompson 2005; Schau, Gilly,
and Wolfinbarger 2009).

While agreeing with these basic premises, we extend the
notion of time as a social (rather than physical or psycho-
logical) dimension toward a microperspective. Unlike prior
accounts, we study time “in action” as it unfolds in con-
sumers’ experience of concrete, lived-through moments.
Further, instead of viewing temporal orientation or timestyle
as a feature of the individual (Cotte et al. 2004) or group
(Brodowsky et al. 2008), we approach temporality as a fea-
ture of consumption practices that individuals engage in. We
thus complement prior research that has recognized tem-
porality as playing a significant role in shaping consumption
experiences. For instance, temporality and rhythm are de-
fining features of the clubbing experience: “Hours passed
in what felt like minutes” (Goulding et al. 2009, 763). Sim-
ilarly, in the experience of surfing, “the time signature of
your surroundings is impossible to ignore. You can be at a
place for 72 hours, and it feels as if you’ve been there for
two weeks” (Canniford and Shankar 2013, 1056). Further,
participation in a high-risk pastime such as skydiving can
momentarily cause one to lose one’s sense of time: “[par-
ticipants] collectively respond that nothing exists in the
world but that moment itself—no sense of time, just a kind
of holistic oneness that makes them feel good and somehow
changed” (Celci et al. 1993, 11). However, while these ac-
counts have identified timeflow as an aspect of consumption
practices, they say very little about how such situated, tem-
poral experiences come about and are constituted, what fac-
tors influence them, or how they might change over time.
To address these gaps in literature, we analyze the different
factors influencing experienced temporality in greater detail.

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WOERMANN AND ROKKA 1489

FROM SERVICESCAPES TO PRACTICES

The concrete factors determining consumers’ temporal
experience have been studied most closely in retail and ser-
vice contexts (Baker and Cameron 1996; Bitner 1992; Dur-
rande-Moreau 1999; Katz et al. 1991; Leclerc et al. 1995).
Decades of empirical studies of waiting have established
that consumers do not experience time as the perfectly ho-
mogenous continuum of cosmic time (Maister 1985; Taylor
1994). Consumers systematically overestimate waiting time
in retail checkout lines (Hornik 1984), because “unoccupied
time feels longer than occupied time” (Maister 1985, 115).
An array of factors can lead to “negative waits,” including
anxiety, anger, uncertainty, punctuality, unoccupied time,
lack of communication, or unfair treatment. Accordingly,
many researchers have shifted their focus from influences
on the absolute time spent waiting, such as managerial ac-
tions that speed up services (Hui, Thakor, and Gill 1998;
Taylor 1994), to exploring factors that influence consumers’
experience of waiting time. These aspects include customer
entertainment (Katz et al. 1991), service convenience
(Berry, Seiders, and Grewal 2002), mental wait-manage-
ment strategies (Miller, Kahn, and Luce 2008), information
about the length of or reasons for waiting (Hui and Tse
1996; Hui, Tse, and Zhou 2006), or various aspects of phys-
ical and atmospheric design (Baker and Cameron 1996; Bit-
ner 1992). For example, olfactory cues such as a pleasurable
scent (Spangenberg, Crowley, and Henderson 1996) or
background music (Hui, Dubé, and Chebat 1997; Knoferle
et al. 2012; Milliman 1982, 1986; Oakes 2003) can enhance
shoppers’ subjective experiences, increase lingering time in
stores, and reduce the perception of waiting time.

While notable for their consistent findings and immediate
managerial relevance, however, prior studies do not consider
cross-modal correspondences and cross-influences between
the senses, nor the full range of material, bodily, and social
influences shaping consumers’ experience of time. As Ezeh
and Harris (2007, 70) point out in their comprehensive lit-
erature review, “only very few studies have incorporated
more than one servicescape element.” We suggest it is time
for moving from empirical research on isolated, contextual
variables toward building a holistic understanding of ex-
perienced temporality as occasioned or keyed by the overall
situational embedding of a consumption activity. We also
argue that prior research has remained unnecessarily re-
stricted to service contexts. To study temporal experience,
we therefore shift from servicescapes to practices as an en-
abling concept. As we show next, in doing so we extend
—rather than reject—core notions and findings from both
interpretative (Sherry 1998) and experimental (Ezeh and
Harris 2007) studies of the servicescape.

Importantly, a servicescape is not only a “physical con-
tainer” (Bitner 1992) within which consumption happens,
but “a subset of social rules, conventions, and expectations
in force in a given behavior setting, serving to define the
nature of social interaction” (Bitner 1992, 61)—and inter
alia, its temporal nature. This definition, informed by en-
vironmental psychology (Darley and Gilbert 1985), comes

close to contemporary practice theory’s conviction that
rules, routinized doings, and shared understandings organize
and define the situated performances of social practices
(Schatzki 1997). Bitner’s (1992, 65) emphasis that the per-
ceived environment manifests in the form of “a holistic
pattern of interdependent stimuli,” or “the total configura-
tion” of consumer emotions, moods, interaction patterns,
and plans is matched by practice theory’s conception of
social practices as bundles of different elements (e.g., the
material, spatial, social, and symbolic) being woven together
in any concrete moment of performance. Significantly, this
overlap not only concerns the elements identified as influ-
ential, but extends to how these elements relate to perception
and action.

Notably, the purpose of Bitner’s theoretical framework is
not to explain how actions are caused but rather how ex-
periences are conditioned, as the “perceived servicescape
does not directly cause people to behave in certain ways”
but instead shapes conditional variables of consumer be-
havior, such as emotions, moods, social interaction patterns,
plans, or tasks (Bitner 1992, 62, emphasis in original). This
conceptualization mirrors practice theory’s insistence that
“understanding et al. are not states of an abstract mental or
real underlying apparatus that are causally related to actions.
They are, instead, conditions of human existence: aspects
of how things stand or are going for someone ongoingly
involved with persons, objects, and situations” (Schatzki
1997, 303).

Temporality is thus difficult to address with theories that
take mental processes or subjective agency as their basal
unit of analysis. Only in certain situations is time the full
focus of attention, decision, or social expression. Yet time
is concurrent with all our doings not only from a (meta-
)physical point of view (Heidegger 1962). It is also always
on the horizon of our experience as a part of the background
of activities (Merleau-Ponty 1962; Schatzki 2010), against
which notable experiences like great service, deep satisfac-
tion, or unnerving waiting stand out. If we are to grasp
consumers’ temporal experience theoretically, it is precisely
this background of activities we must pursue. Accordingly,
analysis of temporal experiences should not be mapped onto
personal or psychological traits but instead onto the situa-
tional embedding that creates perceptions of temporality
through a multifaceted mesh of the elements of a practice
(Arsel and Bean 2013; Shove et al. 2012).

We therefore extend the notion that “servicescapes afford
consumers different holistic, embodied temporal experi-
ences” (Arnould 2005, 93) into a more general and more
flexible framework. We assert that the performance of con-
sumption practices occasions experienced temporality in
consumers. While a number of works arguing from a prac-
tice perspective have pointed out the importance of routines
and social rhythms, spatiality, body, and materiality for
shaping the temporal structures of everyday life (Jalas 2006;
Laurier 2008; Shove et al. 2009; Southerton 2006; Toyoki
et al. 2013), none of these studies has directly examined the
concrete experiences of temporality that accompany the con-

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1490 JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH

duct of a particular practice. In doing just that, we build on
Schatzki’s (2009, 2010) recent philosophical account of the
nature of time that follows the tradition of Heidegger (1962).
In addition to the continuous flow of objective time of the
general physical world, Schatzki argues, the performance of
practices opens up “activity timespaces”: distinct episodes
of temporality characteristic of the activity in question.
While we have drawn inspiration from this line of thought,
our theoretical approach differs in that we conceptualize the
structure and origin of consumers’ experiences of tempo-
rality (the timeflow of practices) rather than the ontological
nature of time per se (timespaces).

THE TIMEFLOW OF CONSUMPTION
PRACTICES

We define timeflow as a quality of (consumption) prac-
tices. Different practices can have different timeflows that
vary in speed, rhythm, and tempo. Compare, for example,
the temporal flow of skydiving to that of yoga or the re-
petitive intervals of tennis. Timeflow describes the temporal
interrelation (or hanging together) of meaningful events that
happen in the course of the ongoing normal conduct of a
practice. Practitioners experience the unfolding of meaning
in a timeflow typical for performing that practice. For ex-
ample, the experience of freeskiing resembles that of riding
a roller coaster in that it exhibits a very specific temporal
flow that entails both episodes flashing by in an instant and
intensive moments where time stands almost still. In other
words, while the temporal unfolding of events never fully
ceases, it changes speeds and rhythms, or escalates or de-
escalates. Although every concrete event can be said to
happen within a universal or cosmic stream of time (the
general temporal concurrence of physical events), our notion
of timeflow refers to the unfolding of meaning in conduct
of a practice as a general quality of that practice. The time-
flow of a consumption practice is not the same as the durée
(Bergson 1911) or inner time perception that traditional phe-
nomenology is concerned with (Husserl 1991). In our frame-
work, timeflow is a quality for the practitioner (a consumer
engaged in the practice) but of the practice.

Since this notion forms the very core of our argument,
we explicate it in greater detail. First, our definition refers
to meaningful events, not physical or ontological events per
se. Skiing down a steep slope, for example, could be con-
sidered to be a single (ontological) event or a series of many
separate events. The timeflow of a practice is therefore not
actually a physical dimension, even though a practitioner
would sometimes experience or describe it as such. For
example, cosmic time does not stand still, in spite of skiers’
perception for an instant as they hang weightlessly in the
air. This decoupling of timeflow and cosmic time results
from defining timeflow as a quality of the unfolding of
meaning: not every physical event makes a difference in
terms of meaning.

Second, if we link timeflow to the unfolding of meaning,
we must specify for whom this meaning supposedly exists.

Critically, from a practice perspective meaning is treated as
occurring exclusively within the course of conducting some
social practice. An object like a ski, for example, is not
inherently meaningful but must be put into practice in order
to make a difference. More precisely, we hold that the time-
flow of a practice is—in the words of Merleau-Ponty
(1962)—a quality of the phenomenal field of the practice
(Garfinkel 2002). Timeflow is, so to speak, a feature of the
face that the practice turns toward the practitioners. The
phenomenal field of skiing consists of proprioceptions of
sharp acceleration, abruptly changing orientations of the
body, wind in the face, changing vistas of the surrounding
landscape, different sounds, and so on. The timeflow of the
practice producing this particular phenomenal field then de-
scribes a quality of the sequential ordering of these typical
elements: the pattern of their succession such as the speed,
acceleration, or repetitions.

Importantly, building on the concept of social practices
does not remove the perceiving human from the equation.
Timeflow is defined as a quality for a practitioner (a person
engaged in a practice). It can be perceived in this particular
way only for a practitioner of that particular practice in the
ongoing course of its conduct. For example, a worker su-
pervising the safe operations of the snow park in which the
freeskiers train will experience temporality very differently,
since it most probably becomes part of a boring, repetitive
routine. This difference is not surprising, …