This paper presents, and discusses, the Documentary Method for Analysis of Pictures, developed by Ralf Bohnsack, a researcher at Berlin Free University, and some of its possibilities for studies in History and other areas of Humanities. The search for the documentary meaning of an image, beyond the immanent one, characterizes the method, which is directed towards the analysis of the worldview, and the habitus, of the social group that produced the image. The method goes from the simple interpretation of the picture to the in-depth study of the characteristics of the social group that produced it: its ideas, actions, concepts, and prejudices. In an attempt to bring the method to History and Political Science, we present the analysis of a cartoon as an example. The cartoon was chosen for its political features, as well as for its representation of a period and a social group. The analysis of the picture seeks to demonstrate the comprehensiveness of such a source, as well as the effectiveness of the documentary method to understand the image.
documentary method; interpretation of pictures; nazism; political cartoons; cultural history of politics.