ANTH 100 Studying Culture.docx

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23 Apr 2012
Studying Culture
January 16th, 2012
- Ethnography: the slow research, first hand detailed description of living culture, understand
another way of life from a native view point
Ethnography: Is a technique and written produce of that
- Ethnology: is the comparative study of a topic across cultures
Ethnography field work began with university trained scientists but before most descriptions
came from missionaries, travelers and other without anthropological training
- Franz Boas: first to realize that one must live among a people to understand the culture
Before him: anthropologists would stay a mere few weeks
- Research Design: Getting There
Having an issue: the research question
Training and preparation
Research proposals
Ethnic approval informed consent
Professional obligations: forms of collaboration
1. Arriving 2. Setting up 3. Participant observation (culture is learned through doing
interaction with people asking questions/ what is appropriate
- “Tools of the Trade”
Consensus and surveys: trust with the people/context
Genealogical research: the structure of people/kinships
Life histories and narratives: origins, who are they?
Formal and informal interviews: come from observation
Documentary research: archives
Multi-media research
Key informant: someone well versed on their culture/ work closely with this person
- Keeping Track
Field notes: serious notes of what is happening
Journals: inspecting own responses is very important. Anthology is different in that one’s
own position becomes an important factor, how one reacts to new things
Publications and reports: formal writings
- The Personal Aspects:
Culture shock
Learning from mistakes
- very different research it isn’t a distant or abstract sort of thing
- Why do we do it?
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