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lecture feb 7th.docx

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Sara Cumming

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February 7 , 2012 Test - 40 mc 20tf *everything up and including to today’s+ Interviews -> should be done in the next 14 days What is Ethnography? - Alternate terms: ethnography, participant observation, fieldwork, field studies, naturalistic inquiry - Ethnography: “the activity of describing peoples and cultures” - The act or the method of data collection as participant observation and then refer to the written account as the ethnography o Method referred to as participant observation o Write up referred to the ethnography - Interviewing, focus groups, oral histories, collecting archival documents, participant observation - Emphasis is on understanding the culture of a group What is culture? - Culture refers to the ways of life of a group of people o Pattern of living o Our possessions  Everything that is owned, bought or sold, consumed, saved, traded or given away  Our rules for how we behave toward the objects o Reflected in our ideas, beliefs, knowledge, ritual practices, and language o Social networks -> who knows who & what the relationships are o Social and political institutions - Implicit part of our society -> ethnographer makes it explicit o It is an ethnographer’s job to paint a portrait of a particular culture - An analytic, not a descriptive concept - Not static or self-contained o Not permanent and fixed - Minimal definition: how a group solves problems; how a group makes a life - Visible markers as difference (food, customs, dress, beliefs, practices – things as we hand down traditionally in our families, as well as cultural [festivals]) - Reflected in: o Material life o Language o Social networks o Institutions o Morals February 7 , 2012 Characteristics of Ethnography - A process of cultural immersion o Engage in conversation and ask questions o Observe behaviour -> observed as they happen o Listen to what is said in conversation o Attempts to see their world as the participant sees it o Attempts to understand how the participant interprets their social world, and in doing so you develop “an insider’s” understanding of a culture or group o Ethnographer has to write a detailed description o Culture -> any shared group o Try to live your life the way they do o Insider understanding - A holistic approach to inquiry o Study the whole person embedded in the group and culture o Understanding social networks, how they interact with these people o Looks at the whole person and not the perimeter - Attitude of “conscious ignorance” o Pay attention to things that don’t seem worth it -> simplest practices need to be noted Advantages over interview methods? - More naturalistic? (but question the epistemology of naturalism) - Document it as accurately as possible - Not all ethnology is like this - Epistemology approach -> there is no knowable social reality apart from how people construct and interpret it o Society is produced, not a given - More holistic o Context of social interaction  Where is it and how is it that social interaction takes place o Sequence of events o Social relationships  Would people interact the same way if you weren’t there? o Social processes Realist Ethnography - Researcher is not a camera or mirror o Don’t just present the information how they see it - Interpretive work is required to represent a reality that may be recognized to members - Fieldwork reality is multi-layered Clifford Geertz – Interpretation of Cultures (1973) February 7 , 2012 - Goal of ethnography is to provide a “thick description” o The interpretation of meaningful action (e.g. “the wink”) o Thick description adds more than just the factual descriptions. It’s a description of the layers of meaning that’s people attach to their interactions - Steps o Gain entry to select our informants, to transcribe tests, to map out our setting, and to keep a diary of what is happening History of Ethnography - Colonial ethnography: - Key terms: o Imperialism: the imposition of the power of one state over the territories of another in order to exploit the subjugated population and extract political and economic advantages o Colonialism: the control, occupation, and settlement of foreign territories  Military conquest – forced removal of land, enslavement - Features of colonial ethnography o Racism o Euro-centrism o Fascination with difference o Assumes vanquished and vanishing cultures o Seeks cultural universals or moral lessons o Neglects analysis of dominance and resistance Post Colonial Ethnography - Examines imperialism, exploitation, resistance and survival - Examines the effects of globalization, cultural contact, migrations - Doesn’t have western superiority - The author is indigenous to the society they are studying *** -> will appear on a test - The analysis carries a critique - Critique of imperial and colonial domination History of Ethnography - Origins in anthropology - The early Chicago school o Most were former social workers or reformers o Women highly influential th o Focused on early 20 century urban life o New immigrants coming into Chicago o Most focus on gangs, organized crimes, pick pockets, “hobos”, prostitutes, slum dwellers, pimps February 7 , 2012  Looking at the disadvantaged people of societies o Wanted to study social life up close o Wasn’t about the exotic o Believed that you needed “to get your hands dirty in social research” o Saw the city as their laboratory - The Chicago School 2 generation o Post-war o Growing influence of ethnography o Emphasized on social justice – immigrants, slum communities, juvenile delinquency, marijuana smokes o Studying the oppressed and the oppressors o Studied institutional study control -> mental institutions, asylums - Counterculture studies, 1960s o California o Study of illegal countercultures and cults o Had to live within the group o Much less interested in social reform -> wasn’t about making it better for anyone o More interested in the research process  Ethics began to get big o Are you loyal to your research subject, or to society and law?
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