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Cultural Anthropology Methods In Cultural Anthropology: Ethnography.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Anthropology Methods In Cultural Anthropology: Ethnography."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Anthropology Methods In Cultural Anthropology: Ethnography

2 fieldwork Cultural anthropologists conduct research in libraries and museums but they rely most heavily on experiential fieldwork

3 fieldwork As a research strategy, fieldwork is experiential this involves: *living with the people they study *learning the language of those they study *asking questions *surveying environments/material possessions *spending long periods observing everyday behaviors and interactions in a natural setting

4 fieldwork Has fieldwork always been a central part of the discipline?

5 Fieldwork-Prior to the 1960s “his” or “her” people No explanation of field methods or of the fieldwork experience ?how long in the field ?how many interviewed/observed ?how were samples collected ?what data collection techniques were used ?problems encountered ?how was data analyzed

6 Fieldwork Shift from fieldwork on small- scale, non-Western cultures to research in sites closer to home, urban neighborhoods, retirement homes, industrial plants, hospitals, elementary schools, prisons, administrative bureaucracies to recreational vehicle owners

7 Fieldwork & Survey Methods Anthropologists have recently blended traditional ethnographic methods with survey methods Differences between the two: Ethnographies take a holistic view by studying complete, functioning societies, while survey research focuses on a representative sampling of a larger population

8 Fieldwork & Survey Methods Ethnographies use first-hand experiential methods while survey researchers have indirect contact with their subjects

9 Fieldwork & Survey Methods Survey researchers who work almost exclusively in literate societies, have the luxury of mailing questionnaires to the intended respondents

10 Fieldwork & Survey Methods Because survey researchers are using much larger sample sizes, they rely much more heavily upon statistical analysis than do ethnographers

11 Fieldwork-difficulties No two fieldwork situations are the same but all fieldworkers have a number of concerns, problems and issues in common

12 Preparing for Fieldwork Obtaining funding

13 Preparing for Fieldwork Health Precautions

14 Preparing for Fieldwork Clearance

15 Preparing for Fieldwork Proficiency in the local language

16 Preparing for Fieldwork Personal details

17 Stages of Field Research 1.Selecting a research problem 2.Formulating a research design 3.Collecting the data 4.Analyzing the data 5.Interpreting the data

18 Data-Gathering Techniques: Participant Observation Of the techniques used by anthropologists, participant- observation is used more extensively than any other *becoming involved in the culture under study while making systematic observations of what people actually do.

19 Guidelines for Participant-Observation Fieldwork Because the participant-observer is interested in studying people at the grassroots level, it is always advisable to work one’s way down the political hierarchy 1.Research clearance 2.Select one role and use it consistently 3.Proceed slowly 4.Respectfully emphasize that you are a student

20 Advantages of Participant-Observation People tend to appreciate the attempt to live according to the rules of their culture Enables the fieldworker to distinguish between normative and real behavior (what people should do and what they actually do)

21 Disadvantages of Participant- Observation Small sample sizes Data is hard to code or categorize Difficulties in recording observations Obtrusiveness

22 Participant-Observation/Interviewing In addition to using participant-observation, cultural anthropologists in the field rely heavily on ethnographic interviewing Used for obtaining information on what people think or feel (attitudinal data) as well as on what they do (behavioral data)

23 Interviewing /Structured & Unstructured Unstructured Interviews-involve a minimum of control; interviewer asks open-ended questions on a general topic and allows interviewees to respond at their own pace using their own words Structured Interviews-large numbers of respondents are asked a set of specific questions in same sequence and preferably the same set of conditions

24 Other Data-Gathering Techniques Cultural anthropologists use other techniques for collecting cultural data a various stages of the field study: Census Taking Mapping Document Analysis Collecting Genealogies Photography

25 Applied Field Methods More collaborative and interdisciplinary More inclusive of local people in all stages of research Faced with real-time limitations

26 Techniques of Applied Field Research Rapid Ethnographic Assessment Surveys Focus Groups

27 Trends in Ethnographic Fieldwork Reflexive Methods- associated with postmodernism, focuses more on the interaction between the ethnographer and the informant than on scientific objectivity

28 Ethics of Cultural Anthropology Project Camelot-aborted U.S. Army research project designed to study the cause of civil unrest and violence in developing countries; created a controversy among anthropologists as to whether the U.S. government was using them as spies

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