The affective ethics of participatory video: an exploration of inter-personal encounters

  • Pamela Richardson-Ngweny School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: ethics, Caribbean sugar, inter-personal interactions, encounter, participatory video, spatio-temporal distances


This paper develops a geographical understanding of ethics by drawing from the author’s experiences during a participatory video (PV) project in Barbados. This project framed and informed a partial understanding of the ethical geographies of Caribbean sugar at large (Richardson-Ngwenya, 2009). Taking inspiration from interactions with sugar workers in Barbados, I engage here with ethics at the level of the inter-personal. Dealing with a key question that emerges from a geographical or embedded approach to ethics (Meskell and Pels, 2005), the paper addresses how we can understand ethics through inter-personal interactions. I conclude by reflecting on the apparent problem of translating the singularity of encounters into more general ethical statements (cf. Barnett, 2005). Instead of treating this as a problem, I argue that inter-personal ethics of encounter are not, in actuality, singular events but are inter-connected and mediated events within a network of wider interactions, both transpersonal and transnational. I explore how, in this case of participatory video, ethical relations are affective, not only in the proximate spaces of group interaction but also across great spatio-temporal distances.
How to Cite
Richardson-Ngweny, P. (1). The affective ethics of participatory video: an exploration of inter-personal encounters. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 11(2), 250-281. Retrieved from