ANTH 100A – Lecture 2 (September 9, 2013) Dr. Charles Menzies
• What is ethnography?
• Fieldwork and anthropological methods
• Examples of field sites
What do anthropologists do?
• Chasing after things
• Learning and making sense of world
What is Ethnography?
• Ethno: people; ography: writing
• Description about whole society or pieces or portions of it (sub-cultures)
• Element of analysis – not just about it, but maybe also comparisons to other
similar things, or analysing if what is supposed to happen is happening or if
it’s something different, or possibly something that’s on the sidelines, or
analysing the result of the culture
• A-historical – non-historical, ethnographic present – present tense (way
things have always been and will always continue to be)
◦ Eric Wolf – Europe and the People without History
• Turn to history and reflectivity
◦ Reflectivity: recognition that as a researcher, there is an impact on
the study (not simply an external observer), the very fact that he is
there has an impact. Try to modify for changes he causes
What is fieldwork?
• the 'field' - place researchers go to and spend time in where they are actively
engaged in research, then separate themselves (physically or
metaphorically) and do write-up.
◦ rural villages and insular communities have been a staple of
Sarah: Barcelona - saw more than as tourist; with anarchist
punks handing out food in protest to war
Northern Italy in small city, worked with doctors in clinics
• Richard Lee in the Kalhari
• village is classical unit of study, not no natural unit of analysis (i.e. family,
household, fishboat) important to define unit
• from N American perspective, even rural is urban.
• urban studies borrow a range of methods
• "Where have all the homeless gone?" - Anthony Marcus (pg 6-8)
◦ anthropologist adopted by community, develops friendships, but
jumps over sense of anthropology. anthropological method develops
Le Pays Bigoudennie, France
• Part of the Celtic 'fringe' of western Europe
• historically on the margins of France, yet has at various times been in the
centre of major regional world systems
places most likely to find interesting human activity, most innovation
- where shifts and changes occur
• today the major artisanal fishing centre in France