ANTH 2160 Study Guide - Final Guide: Ethnography

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16 Apr 2012

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The production of anthropological knowledge
-Historical Overview
Associated with colonialism,
-Victorian Era Anthro
-Attempted to establish anthro as a science
-informed by idea of evolution form natural history (Charles Darwin)
-informed by Enlightenment ideals of progress through rational inquiry
-optimism that science would lead to the betterment of human kind, strong Eurocentric
-concerned with the evolution of human societies
-Unilineal evolution; human society always improved
-there are specific stages with identifiable traits
-each stage must emerge from the one before
-European society the epitome of progress and perfection so far
-the more different a society is the lower they are presumed to be on the evolutionary scale
-Spencer - division of labour
-Lewis Henry Morgan - Had different ETHNICAL STAGES
There were 3 different scales for
1. Savagery lower, middle, high
2. Barbarism
and then there was 3. Civilization
-Criteria included subsistence, technology, family, religion..etc..
-These ethnographers are considered ARMCHAIR - they looked at books, and other information, they did
not go to view or interview the subjects they were writing about
Fieldwork and anthro
-Bronislaw Malinowski and participant observation
Spend a long period of time living with the people you intend to write about
Learn the language that the people speak
Participate, as much as possible, in the social lives of the people about whom you intend to write
Preparing for fieldwork
-select a topic
Fill a gap in the ethnographic map
Address a theoretical question
-obtain Permissions and ethics clearance
Continues into the field experience itself
-obtain funding
-language, travel arrangements and accommodation
In the field
-establish rapport
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-learn how to get around, how to prepare foods, how to ask questions
Formal and informal interviews
Formal observation
Participant observation
Archive and published literature
A detailed study of the social life and culture of one social group
-Victorian armchair anthro
-theories about cultural evolution
-diffusion VS independent invention
-static slice of time (synchronic) VS focus on change through time (diachronic)
-Boas (Kwakiutl) Malinowki (trobriand islands, later with his students in Africa)
-colonialism and anthropology
Boas and Malinowk - critical to the changes and beginning of anthro
-Boas, American, associated with HISTORICAL PARTICULARISM - tons of research is in Canada,
-Malinowki, British, associated with FUNCTIONALISM
-both articles address ideas about what anthropology is and what anthro should or could be and some
of the types of concerns or questions raised continue today alone with new concerns
Art or science
Role of anthropologist?
Impartial observer or situated knowledge/reflexivity?
Evolution- simply means change through time, doesn't have to mean change to something better
-at the time, when he was practicing, all of the other anthropologists were essentially his students
-Colonial change - dress, religion, daily life, culture, tax, food, medicine, forced into wage labour
Malinowski - says anthropology needs to figure out why and study colonialism, culture and social change
Started and made more prevalent APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY, (advocacy, land claims,
Need to be involved not only as an academic, but as a fieldworker (applied anthropologist)
Anthropologist with new knowledge of the change could potentially make the transition easier
-research isn't objective, everyone has their own interests/ beliefs/ ways of interacting
Two researchers can observe the same thing but have completely different outcomes and results,
views of the same obsercations
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Ethical Considerations:
Obligation to people with whom we work
Obligation to discipline
Obligation to society
Obligation to funders
Obligation to tell the truth
Power and knowledge
Authorship and protection of identity
First Guideline for Anthropologists "Do no harm"
-when in doubt, leave it out, even if there is a little bit of harm
-do not interfere (guideline)
-preserving anonymously
-there is a difference in protecting the identity of people within the different fields of anthro
-before fieldwork, course has to be taken on the code of the ethics,
-there is always a time of judgement
Anthropologists have to:
-have to tell the truth
-have to be aware of the power and knowledge and the relationship between them (always political)
-if your supposed to protect ppl with false names, this means you are not giving them credit for their
stories or experiences (this then becomes intellectual property, and is given to the anthropologist
instead of the people)
1. What are Malinowski's methodological premises? (what constitutes "participant observation) How
did this change anthropology as an academic discipline?
2.At the beginning of the 20th cent, anthros often wrote about the people they worked with as if they
were the first to meet this isolated community. Take notes with Malinowksi does this. Take notes if
something is fiction
3. What is Malinowski's theory of functionalism? How does this differ from the earlier
evoluntionary theories that had been popular in anthro circles? How does the principle of
holism apply to this theoretical perspective (ie functionalism)
Margret Mead- Research with human subjects
-anthro's in a relationship with human beings (Talcott Parsons' model)
-language "collaborators" (usually used when giving credit to another person as well
-man/he was common practice NOW gender neutral language
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