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Lecture 5

ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Class Consciousness, Nuance Communications, Participant Observation


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Bianca Dahl
Lecture
5

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1
ANTA02: Lecture 5 Englishness
January 30, 2017
Watching the English:
Pop-culture version of anthropology for entertainment as well as education
o Non-academic purposes
Fox uses mixed methods (survey, passive observation, participant observation, interviews,
experiments) to explore, “get inside” stereotypes
o A lot of it is not standard anthropology i.e., surveys not common in anthro
o Quasi experiment not common slug down beer at the train station you become an
important method
Aim of the book is to get inside the stereotypes ask myself why they exist? explain what
underlies stereotypes of Englishness
Several faux-anthropology concepts (cultural grammar, rules, reflexes), faux-anthro methods
“A kind of mock-scientific thoroughness about it” (online review)
o She is not aiming for truly anthro but for breath big picture, making fun of English, herself,
and anthro
Emic = inside and Etic = outside:
“Watching the English is written with an insider's knowledge, but from an outsider’s perspective.”
(SIRC)
Responses/reviews vary widely at times appear to prove her point!
Important to remember her tone (“chicklittish” according to the Guardian) is an attempt to
demonstrate her argument by using her own writing style as a “case-in-point” of Englishness
Participant observation we all do it, but some of us take notes” - Ellen Pader
Fox motto we are all people watching but she is taking notes from the inside
Kate Fox: An Anthropological Iconoclast?
book is pop anthro
the style of the book is actually part of her argument…
o style = informality; very silly meta-cognition on Englishness
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com

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“Grammar of Englishness”
again, using linguistic concepts as metaphors for cultural ones
o Code switching
“My aim, if you like, was to provide a ‘grammar’ of English behaviour. Native speakers can rarely
explain the grammatical rules of their own language. In the same way, those who are most ‘fluent’
in the rituals, customs and traditions of a particular culture generally lack the detachment
necessary to explain the ‘grammar’ of these practices in an intelligible manner. This is why we
have anthropologists. Most people obey the unwritten rules of their society instinctively, without
being conscious of doing so.” (p. 2)
o native speakers are the worse explaining the grammatical rules
What’s Fox’s Concept of Rules:
“a fact, or the statement of a fact, which holds generally good; the normal or usual state of things.”
(Fox 2008:9)
“When we use the term rule in this way, we do not mean and this is important that all English
people always or invariably exhibit the characteristic in question, only that it is a quality or
behaviour pattern which is common enough, or marked enough, to be noticeable and significant.
Indeed, it is a fundamental requirement of a social rule by whatever definition that it can be
broken. Rules of conduct (or standards, or principles) of this kind are not like scientific or
mathematical laws, statements of a necessary state of affairs; they are by definition contingent.”
(ibid)
Explain what she means by cultural rules:
- unspoken implicit rules and norms that people follow
- overarching patterns but they are not laws, but, they are common enough pattern to be noticeable
Understanding Class:
She nuances beyond just upper and working classes
o In her descriptive, she focuses on middle class
Class “anxiety” and class consciousness plays a role in English society
o middle class has the most anxiety, they want to appear better
Not about wealth
o Also an inherent cast system nothing to do with SES
Is this the same class system as we have in Canada?
*Most important argument is: English social class it’s not the same as in Canada,
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
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