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Lecture 15

ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Structured Interview, Participant Observation, Telling Stories

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ANTHROP 3HI3 Lecture 15
March 10, 2016 March 10, 2016
Priscilla Medeiros, 1
Anthropology of the Body: Part 4
Review of Embodiment:
Refers to one’s understanding of their experiences of the world
o Constantly shifting in how we understand the self and identity
Is an awareness of who we are
o Reflexive
Relates to how individuals interpret and understand their experiences
o Very subjective because it is a personal experience
Stress: We’ve attached universal meanings to stress yet an individual’s experience with
stress is very different from how others will experience and react to it
Influenced by the social, the biological, the cultural, etc.
Studying Embodiment or the Individual’s Perspective:
Phenomenology is the first person’s point of view
o Human experience our individual’s perspectives very closely related with
Requires self-reflexivity
o As a researcher you have to reflect on your own biases so that you aren’t
imposing your understandings of the illness onto others
A way to connect with people about their illness experiences
o Can lead to positive health outcomes
Collected through interviewing styles and participant observation
Participant Observation:
Definition: A method of data collection in which a researcher lives and works closely with
the people or groups under study
Most anthropological information is collected through this method
Living with other people allows anthropologists to see thing that they would otherwise
not observe
Trying to understand how people feel and think about certain issues
Is a personal experience
o Stresses importance of self-reflexivity
Builds and forges a level of trust required to understand a person’s experiences
Typology of the Participant Observer Roles:
1. Complete Participant
o Researcher takes an insiders role and becomes a full member of the community
o Will participate in every aspect of traditions and festivals in order to
collect/understand individual perspectives
2. Participant as Observer:
o Becoming part of the group under study
o Level of power dynamics
o They are part of the group being studied to the extent that they can observe their
3. Observer as Participant:
o Minimal involvement in the group
o More observing that actual interaction with the group being studied
o Can sometimes be a more appropriate way to collect information
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