ANTH 2200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Structured Interview, Formal Methods

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7 Feb 2017
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DISCUSSION
Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
o Ethnography/Within-culture comparisons
Traditional research methods in anthropology
Participant-observation
Schmoozing & hanging-out
Unstructured and structured interviewing
Work with "key informants" who can describe in detail their own
society (have someone that is willing to give you time and become
your friend in determining/gaining the knowledge that you need)
Mead's Conclusions & Controversy
In Samoa, adolescence is not a time of turmoil and rebellion
This is due to the relative "easy-going" nature of the society, especially
with respect to familial relationships and sexuality
Conclusions were challenged strongly by Derek Freeman, who argued
that Mead has a biased view of the society
Not a representative sample of individuals (just talked about 20
women)
Just asked open-ended questions (no way to quantify the data or
have comparisons) - no structured interview questions
Tried to replicate her study so he found that it was needed to talk to
other age groups
Points to need for more formal methods in anthropological fieldwork
Expanded toolkit of anthropology
Participant-observation, Unstructured interviewing
Structured interviewing
Work with representative samples of persons (equal number of
genders, tried to control for age)
Carefully define characteristics of persons (variables) in terms of
precise observations (operationalize)
Look at patterns of associations statistically
Kinship and Social Support in Brazil
Based on cultural and colonial history, a strong emphasis is placed on
extended kinship in Brazil
Extended kin are seen as the primary source of help in times of need
Hypothesis: those persons with less access to kin support will be more
stressed and have higher blood pressure
o Cross-cultural comparisons
Regional controlled comparisons
Cross-cultural surveys
o Historical research
Ethnohistory
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