studying. Field work is a rite of passage and it turns you into an anthropologist. You cannot
call yourself an anthropologist until you do field work.
Ethnography is what anthropologists write after they do their field work. The books we are
using in this course is based on field work. Often, anthropologists post shorter types of
work. Ethnography is analysis and theorizing. The point is to portray a native’s culture
point of view. Geertz gives so many examples and paints such a vivid picture. Thick
description (Geertz) is many different layers and what this is meant to do but to give you
Anthropologists haven’t always done field work. Marco polo is someone who went off to
somewhere and wrote about his travels which is sort of like what anthropology. Victorian
anthropologists where strongly influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Edward Tyler’s
definition of culture was civilization. James Fraser did a comparative study of myth and
religion. He theorized is that all cultures started with cultures with magical thinking.
Religious thinking was the next one. Scientific thought is the last one.
The thought the order of cilivilization was magical thinking, religious thinking, and finally
The two anthropologists that were the ‘fathers’ of field work. Malinowski was polish and
came in the London and he received grant to go and sit in the venranda but he didn’t ‘get
his hands dirty’, he just watched from above. He couldn’t go back to the U.K because he was
a ‘enemy’ during the war. He started to live along the people and famously lived with young
female people. What he did was called ‘participant observation’ is about participating and
then write the notes. Malinowski had a problem with ranking cultures and he realized that
the people they were studying was not just savage and that they had complex kin
relationships, economics, politics. He was really one the first people to say to stop the
ranking of cultures and that they are just different.
The other father of field work is Franz Boas and he was working in America. He also
believed that cultures needed to be studied on their own terms because its own culture has
its own history. To judge another culture with your culture’s own standards is called
Field work is based on first hand knowledge. It is holistic and you should understand
holistically. It is comparative but you don’t rank.
Culture is shared patterns of learned behaviour. Slightly more elaborately, learned sets of
ideas and behaviours that are acquired and shared by members of a society.