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Lec 2

5 Pages
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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Maggie Cummings

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Fieldwork and Ehtnography
Enthnography is, in turn, is based on fieldwork
Object of anthropological study – Culture
Method of studying it – fieldwork, enthnography
Fieldwork sets social anthropology apart from others. Anthro share objects of study with
other disciplines, for the most part they leave offices etc. and spend an extended period of
time with the people they study. This is fieldwork.
Fieldwork is considered aright of passage” amongst anthropologists. It makes you an
“actual anthropologist.
Enthnography is what you write based on fieldwork. (Crack Book, Feeding desire, can
also be short writings)
Its about more than description, also contains theories and analysis, trying to figure out
why people in the culture behave in a certain way and the significance of it.
Always 2 things going on, description and analysis.
Whats ethnography and fieldwork accomplish?
From Geertz P.O.V, the job of any important enthnographer is to portray a culture from
the natives point of view.
Need a detailed and thick description of the culture. Context for knowledge about the
culture.
Give as much detail as possible in order to build context for whatever you are describing.
(Balinese cockfight, describes more than just watching chickens die, describes the betting
process, feeding the rooster, run from the cops, etc.)
You learn context from being in the culture.
From Geertz, context example is, someone winking at you (possible contexts, something
in eye, suggestive) you need context in order to understand
Basically, lots of description and context is important for understanding cultures
Good thing about fieldwork is that you actually LEARn the context
Brief History of Anthropology
Anthropology is relatively young, about 100 years old, but it draws on older disciplines
such as philo and history
Philosophers and various explorers as proto-anthropologist – they wrote about cultures
they encountered
Has its real roots about 150 years ago in the Victorian era
Victorian Anthropology (Tylor and Frazer): influenced by evolutionary theory, hierarchy
of civilization
Tylor’s Definition of Culture : Tied it to the idea of civilization, culture or civilization is
that complex whole which includes knowledge belief art customs laws and any other
abilities acquired by man as a member of society.(Page 36 of VSI)
www.notesolution.com
-he tied culture to civilization
-believed some people had more culture than other people
-more evolved = more culture
-believed all cultures could be ranked in a hierarchy, least civilized to most civilized
(British were on top)
-thought all cultures would evolve to look like theirs (BRITISH)
Frazer: Believed you could move from simple to sophisticated, similar to tylor.
-focused on myth and religion
-read religious texts from many religions and myths, in terms of religion and rationality,
all cultures went through evolutionary stages
-went from magical thinking, to religious thinking, to rational or scientific thinking
(becoming more civilized/evolved)
Comparative, secondhand accounts- they didnt do any fieldwork
Armchair Anthropology”
-read other peoples accounts of cultures
-acquired info from writings and catalogued the cultures and ranked them
-all based on secondhand knowledge
-sometime near the end of the 19th century or beginning of 20th, started to think about
fieldwork… they would stay with missionaries or stay with colonial officials in order to
study cultures (would sit in the colonial buildings and observe cultures)
Malinowski
On the Verandah” “Off the Verandah” (Anthro with semi (observing) fieldwork vs
anthro with real fieldwork)
-polish
-studied on Trombian Islands
-just studied people
-when WW1 broke out (since he was polish) he couldnt go back home to Australia (he
was an enemy of the state)
-decided to just stay on the Trombian Islands
-eventually started living amongst the natives
-learned that actual fieldwork gives you a lot more information about culture
-when he did go back to London, he became a prof of anthropology and taught people to
do actual fieldwork
(Participant Observation) – partake as fully as possible while maintaining a critical
distance in order to observe them as an outsider, not entirely object or subjective in your
study
Franz Boas
-believed we should live with the cultures we study, want to look at cultures wholeistically
as everything in a culture interconnects (religion, laws)
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Fieldwork and Ehtnography Enthnography is, in turn, is based on fieldwork Object of anthropological study Culture Method of studying it fieldwork, enthnography Fieldwork sets social anthropology apart from others. Anthro share objects of study with other disciplines, for the most part they leave offices etc. and spend an extended period of time with the people they study. This is fieldwork. Fieldwork is considered a right of passage amongst anthropologists. It makes you an actual anthropologist. Enthnography is what you write based on fieldwork. (Crack Book, Feeding desire, can also be short writings) Its about more than description, also contains theories and analysis, trying to figure out why people in the culture behave in a certain way and the significance of it. Always 2 things going on, description and analysis. Whats ethnography and fieldwork accomplish? From Geertz P.O.V, the job of any important enthnographer is to portray a culture from the natives point of view. Need a detailed and thick description of the culture. Context for knowledge about the culture. Give as much detail as possible in order to build context for whatever you are describing. (Balinese cockfight, describes more than just watching chickens die, describes the betting process, feeding the rooster, run from the cops, etc.) You learn context from being in the culture. From Geertz, context example is, someone winking at you (possible contexts, something in eye, suggestive) you need context in order to understand Basically, lots of description and context is important for understanding cultures Good thing about fieldwork is that you actually LEARn the context Brief History of Anthropology Anthropology is relatively young, about 100 years old, but it draws on older disciplines such as philo and history Philosophers and various explorers as proto-anthropologist they wrote about cultures they encountered Has its real roots about 150 years ago in the Victorian era Victorian Anthropology (Tylor and Frazer): influenced by evolutionary theory, hierarchy of civilization Tylors Definition of Culture : Tied it to the idea of civilization, culture or civilization is that complex whole which includes knowledge belief art customs laws and any other abilities acquired by man as a member of society.(Page 36 of VSI) www.notesolution.com
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