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Lecture 3

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Bryan Cummins

Anthropology 1A03 September 28 , 2011 Armchair Anthropology Franz Boaz Malinowski Participant Observation Why anthropologists do what they do? th > it is often a mystery, anthropology came about in the 19 century, the earliest anthropologists were referred to as “armchair anthropologists”, they did not venture too far then the comfort of their “arm chairs” > Armchair Anthropologists- were not dealing with the people themselves, they were dealing what others had said about the “people”, people such as Tyler (been to the states and Cuba), Frazer, people such as these were not anthropologists in the sense that we know anthropologists today > Earliest days of the discipline, a few already souls, would go to the colonies, they would set a house with E.g. colonial administrator, and then they would ask for people to come to them, so that they could ask them questions > Verandah- because people might have gone off to diff lands, but did not go further than their “front porches” or their arm chairs - their “verandah” > Franz Boaz- was trained in a completely different discipline, depending on what we read, (trained in physics, math etc.), he was in the arctic, he was studying the properties of the colour of “water”, because he was in the arctic, he spent time with the INUIT, Boaz swiftly changed disciplines, he became a long with many other men one of the “fathers of anthropology”, he was one of the two major people who told us we must change the way we look at anthropology, he emphasized the importance of FIELD WORK- the need to actually get out with the people you want to learn about. He learned this when he was in the arctic, if you want to understand a people, you must go live with them. >Malinowski- was from Poland, was trained as a anthropologist, and he had either bad luck or good luck to be essentially declared as a POW, he was not aloud to leave the Trobrian Islands (Off Australia), he was staying there and he did research on the islanders there. He wrote “ Argonauts of the Western Pacific”, and in this book (page 37), he writes a few paragraphs and says anthropologists and says that anthropologists must get off the verandah. > Between Boaz and Malinowski- they learned the all important rule, you cant sit on your butt and do research there in a comfortable “arm chair”, and sit on our verandah and say come talk to me. However, we must immerse ourselves in their way of life “ Participant Observation” is the correct term for this rule. > Emic and Etic- Emic (seeing the culture from the insiders view) Etic ( from the outsiders view) > Annual Round- People would go and spend a year, and living with and also learning the language, and the idea was at once upon a time, one would get a “Holistic view” of the culture, by spending this time with these people. > One of the drawbacks of this annual round- is that 1. What you would get out of that is a picture of a culture that was essentially a snapshot in “TIME”, a standard ethnography (time, setting, culture, language, politics, family, religion), picture of a culture with no past and future, just a snapshot. This was a major improvement over what we HAD BEFORE, however it still required improvement. It is impossible to understand a culture in its entirety, these early ethnographies virtually ignored women, > Anthropology has now changed, one of these approaches we take, is that we want to look at an issue or problem , we no longer go and say “ we are going to go among these people and study their culture” now we look into problems and understand why. > The role of theory- we are concerned with theory, one way or another. Theory is fundam
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