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Anthro 1025 - Ch 2

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Western University
Anthropology 1025F/G
Kim Clark

Anthropology Methods in Cultural Anthropology Chapter 2 Fieldwork: research in the field, which is any place where people and culture are found 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 (20 century) • Bronislaw Malinowski: Living with people, learning language, participating in everyday life • Primarily did fieldwork in small, relatively isolated cultures, everything learned – holism • 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 training • 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 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 important. 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 Approach 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 Anthropology Methods in Cultural Anthropology Chapter 2 Participant Observation: participating and observing, adopts the lifestyle of the people being studied, overcome the Hawthorne effect (research bias due to participants changing their behaviour to conform to expectations of the researcher) Talking with People: • Interview: gathering verbal data through questions/guided conversations. Group interviews or focus group, open ended interview • Questionnaire: formal research, preset series of questions, face-face, structured, unstructured Rugged Individualists vs. Utilitarianism Life History: qualitative, in depth description of an individual’s life as narrated to the researcher. Historically find average and typical representative. Now seek individuals who occupy particularly interesting social niches. Reveals individual experiences and shared patterns. Texts: written, oral stories, myths,
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