Bild und Habitus. Sinnbildungsprozesses bei der Rezeption von Fotografien
Wiesbaden: VS Verlag 2006
416 pp., Euro 36.90; ISBN 3-531-14293-3
Keywords: pictures and interpretation, interpretation of pictures, habitus and picture reception, reception of pictures, polysemy, Bourdieu, P., iconology, media reception research, Bohnsack, R., photograph

Picture and habitus. Processes of creating meaning in the reception of photographs
Pictures are characterized by a combination of iconic exactness and semantic vagueness (polysemic textuality): it is evident what is in the picture, but the meaning is often open to interpretation - meaning is generated in perceiving (or apperceiving) the picture - the interaction of the viewer with the picture is topic of this book: the way how this interaction can be assessed. This is analyzed by Michel in the context of media reception research, using Bourdieu"s habitus theory in a qualitative research design. According to this theory processes of reception are milieu-specific (habitus) and thus not rationalistic acts of "pure cognition" but practical acts taking place "beyond consciousness and discursive thinking". To empirically reconstruct this pre-reflexive level of meaning in the reception of pictures the author employs the documentary method of Ralf Bohnsack combined with the method of group discussion - to create a "praxeological" form of reception research.