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
Enthnography is what you write based on fieldwork. (Crack Book, Feeding desire, can
also be short writings)
It’s 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.
What’s ethnography and fieldwork accomplish?
From Geertz P.O.V, the job of any important enthnographer is to portray a culture from
the native’s point of view.
Need a detailed and thick description of the culture. Context for knowledge about the
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
Has its real roots about 150 years ago in the Victorian era
Victorian Anthropology (Tylor and Frazer): influenced by evolutionary theory, hierarchy
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)