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Anthropology 1025F/G Chapter Notes -American Anthropological Association, Project Camelot, Focus Group

Course Code
ANTH 1025F/G
Kim Clark

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Anthropology Methods in Cultural Anthropology Chapter 2
Fieldwork: research in the field, which is any place where people and culture are
Armchair Anthropology: anthropologists conduct research by sitting & reading
about other cultures
Veranda Anthropology: travel to colonized countries, lived near, not with people
they were studying.
Salvage: collect salvaged data from remaining people: record language, social life
and religious beliefs.
Participant Observation (20th century)
Bronislaw Malinowski: Living with people, learning language, participating in
everyday life
Primarily did fieldwork in small, relatively isolated cultures, everything learned –
Today, larger scale, global-local connections, cultural change
Multisited Research: fieldwork conducted in more than one location in order to
understand the behaviours and ideas of dispersed members of a culture or the
relationships among different levels such as state policy and local culture
Research Methods: Project Selection and Funding
Find a topic – important/feasible.
Literature review – reading what others have already written, exposing gaps
Focus for research: choose particular material item: provides understanding for
social relations
Restudy – fieldwork conducted in a previously researched community
Proposal: describe project, importance, info how research will be conducted,
cost, results
Preparing for the Field
Visa applications, sensitivity of research topic, follow guidelines for protection of
human subjects, informed consent, health preparation, equipment, language
Informed consent: an aspect of fieldwork ethics requiring that the researcher
inform the research participants of the intent, scope and possible effects f the
study and seek their consent to be in the study (not always reasonable or
feasible in oral based cultures)
Kula: trading network linking the Trobriand Islands in which men have longstanding
partnerships for the exchange of everyday goods, such as food as well as highly values
necklace and armlets
Working in the Field - Learn language, live, as they do, understand their lives, be a
friend, place to live
Site Selection: Researcher has a basic idea of where research takes place,
sometimes more than 1 site
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Anthropology Methods in Cultural Anthropology Chapter 2
Gaining Rapport: trusting relationship between the researcher and the study
population, first with key leaders/decision makers. Presentation of one is very
Gift Giving & Exchange: help project precede, sometimes-expected part of
exchange relationships. Culturally and ethically appropriate (medicine, teaching) local
rules of exchange, gift, delivery, behave
Factors Influencing Fieldwork: Class, race, gender, age
Class: anthropologist more wealthy/powerful than people studied, people act
differently. “Study up”
Race/Ethnicity: historically cultural anthropology dominated by Euro-American
researchers. “Whiteness” – high status position, censured expression of other beliefs,
feelings or opinions
Gender: Young unmarried female on her own (difficulties). Gender boundaries exist
cross culturally varying degree may not fully overcome. Limits researchers from
gaining access to all activities
Age: each age category has its own cultural rule and age specific language, studied
on its own terms. Clichés like “innocent children” mask differences among children
according to age, gender, race, class.
Other Factors: language, dress, and religion
Culture Shock: Persistent feelings of uneasiness, loneliness, and anxiety that often
occur when a person has shifted from one culture to a different one. More different –
more severe, feelings of reduced competence as a cultural actor. Reverse culture
shocks – going home
Fieldwork Techniques: collect data, information about research topic
Deductive Research Approach: research method posing a research question,
hypothesis gathering empirical data related to the question, assessing findings in
relation to the original hypothesis
Inductive Research Approach: research approach avoids hypothesis formation
before research and takes its lead from culture being studied. Is unstructured, informal
observation with conversation.
Quantitative data: research that emphasizes gathering and analyzing numeric
information and using tables and charts when presenting results – Deductive research
Qualitative Data: research that emphasizes generating descriptive information –
Inductive Research
Etic: an analytical framework used by outside analysts in studying culture
Emic: what insiders do, perceive their culture, perceptions of reality, explains why and
what they do
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