MSU Body Ritual Among the Nacirema

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Question Description

part 1

https://msu.edu/~jdowell/miner.html

Compose posting on the main points rendered in Horace Miner's article "Body Ritual among the Nacirema."

3 paragraphs ill tip you hehe

PART 2

Bronislaw Malinowski, a Polish born British social anthropologist who conducted his fieldwork among the Trobriand islanders in the beginning of last century is widely credited as the anthropologist who introduced ethnography as a scientific enterprise. Malinowski maintained that in order to understand the native point of view, the ethnographer has to immerse totally in the culture he/she intends to study. Total immersion, he maintained further, requires participant-observation, the technique of learning a people's culture through social participation and personal observation. Simply put, participant-observation requires eating food of the people being studied, learning how to speak and behave acceptably, and personally experiencing their habits and customs.

However, some of the photographs of Malinowski's actual fieldwork reveal a rather different scenario (see the photographs of Malinowski's fieldwork in the PowerPoint presentation on 'Doing Cultural Anthropology') in which the imposing figure of Malinowski clad in his European clothes and shoes can be seen interacting with natives.

Was he preaching something that he himself has never practiced? Or, is ethnography a defective method to begin with?


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Doing Cultural Anthropology: Field Work Ethnography Doing Cultural Anthropology ◼ ◼ Ethnographic Field Work has long been considered the central ritual of the tribe of cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropologists, however, use two other research methods, namely, ethnology, and ethno history, in addition to ethnography. Ethnology ◼ Ethnology, according to the current usage of the term, refers to the comparative study of two or more cultures. Ethnologist, in this sense, is a researcher whose investigative interests primarily exist in cross-cultural comparisons. Ethno Historical Research ◼ Ethno Historical Research refers to the use of historical documents and archival materials in the process of inquiring on how a particular culture has changed over time. Ethnography ◼ ◼ Ethnography refers to a written, visual, or virtual anthropological description or monograph of a specific culture, based on data gathered during the process of field work. Many anthropologists consider ethnography as the central research methodology of doing cultural anthropology. Ethnography ◼ The term ethnography finds its origin in the two Greek words ethnos (“people” or “a division of people”) and graphos (“writing”). Thus ethnography is writing about people. Ethnographic Research ▪Fieldwork (first hand participation in an initially unfamiliar social/cultural world) ▪Production of ethnographic monographs (analyzing, interpreting and reporting field data through written, visual, or virtual accounts) Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ The application of the ethnographic method enables cultural anthropologists to immerse in the lives and cultures of the people they are trying to understand, and through that up close and personal experience, to gain some insights into the meanings those people ascribe to their existence. It is a unique method of qualitative research driven by tension, a tension created by the ethnographer’s attempt to immerse the lives of others while attempting to maintain his/her own emotional balance simultaneously. Ethnographic Method ◼ Cultural anthropologists are aware of the fact that the understanding of other cultures that they can reach can be, at best, limited. The ethnographic method transforms the anthropological fieldworker into a “marginal person,” an outsider who knows only something of what it is to be an insider. Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ Provides the ethnographers a means of tapping local/native perspectives or community “funds of knowledge” (Moll and Greenberg, 1990, Genzuk, 1999) and bottomup insights Provides a means of identifying salient categories of human experience while enriching the exploratory process of the arenas of human similarity and difference Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ Allows to study people’s behavior in everyday contexts rather than under experimental conditions created by the researcher Allows to gather data from a variety of sources, yet emphasizes participantobservation and informal or “unstructured” interviews as the primary sources. Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ Allows the ethnographer to commence “unstructured” data gathering without following through a detailed plan set up at the beginning. Helps to understand that the categories used for interpreting people’s thoughts, words, and actions are not pre-given or fixed. This does not mean that the ethnographic data gathering is unsystematic. Rather, it is to simply convey that, initially the data are collected in as raw a form, and on as broad a front, as possible. Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ Allows the ethnographer to focus usually on a single setting or group, of relatively small scale. In Life History Research, the focus may even be a single individual. However, some contemporary anthropologists have suggested the idea of Multi-Sited Ethnography (Marcus, George E., 1995, Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography, In Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol.24: 95-117) and Multi-Positional Ethnography (Kurotani, Sawa, 2005, Home Away from Home: Japanese Corporate Wives in the United States) in the globalizing world today. Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ Anthropologist George E. Marcus (1995) suggests that ethnography should move from its conventional single-site field location to multiple sites of observation and participation. Such a methodological shift of ethnography that cross-cuts dichotomies such as the ‘local’ and the ‘global,’ and the ‘life world’ and the ‘system’ is required, contends Marcus, in order to grasp the systemic global interconnections and interdependencies or the world-system. Marcus coined this emerging methodological trend in anthropological research as multi-sited ethnography. Ethnographic Method ◼ ◼ Emphasizes the interpretation of the meanings and the functions of human thought and behavior in the analysis of data Allows verbal descriptions and explanations to play a dominant role while only allowing quantification and statistical analysis to play a subordinate role Ethnographic Data Gathering 3 kinds of data collection ◼ Interviews ◼ Participant-Observation ◼ Documents 3 kinds of data ◼ Quotations ◼ Descriptions ◼ Excerpts of Documents Techniques of Ethnographic Fieldwork ◼ ◼ ◼ Participant-observation Observation Interviews • • • • • ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ formal (“structured”) interviews informal (“unstructured”) interviews individual interviews or depth interviews (conducted in person in the field) group interviews (focus group) long interviews (conducted between the ethnographer and a single respondent while reviewing and discovering analytic and cultural categories) Charting of social networks Construction of genealogies Detailed work with well-informed informants Problem-oriented research Longitudinal research or continuous long-term study of an area or a site Participant-Observation ◼ The ethnographic method relies heavily on up-close, personal experience and participant-observation, instead of mere observation, by anthropologists trained in the “art of fieldwork” (Wolcott, 1995). Ethnographic fieldworker is a participant-observer, not an onlooker. Participant-Observation ◼ ◼ The purpose of participant-observation is to get the insider’s perspective so the ethnographer is not only seeing, but also “feeling.” Experiencing a research environment as an insider is what necessitates the participant part of participantobservation. Participant-Observation ◼ ◼ At the same time, however, there is clearly an observer side to this process. The challenge of the ethnographer is to synthesize participation and observation so as to become capable of comprehending the research experience as an insider while describing the experience for outsiders. Participant-Observation ◼ It is an omnibus field strategy in that it simultaneously combines ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ Document analysis Interviewing of informants Direct participation and observation, and Introspection Interviewing ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ Informal or “Unstructured” Interview Formal or “Structured” Interview Group Interview or Focus Group (group method of qualitative research) Depth Interview (practiced mainly by psychological inquirers) Long Interview (conducted between the ethnographer and a single respondent or informant) Interviewing ◼ There is no single correct formula that is appropriate for every ethnographic situation, and no single way of wording questions that will always work. Interviewing ◼ Different types of interviews have their own strengths and weaknesses: ◼ ◼ ◼ Informal or “Unstructured” Interview Interview Guide Approach Standard Open-ended Interview Interviewing ◼ Ethnographers often select the type of interview or combination of types that is most appropriate to the purpose of the ethnographic project Interviewing ◼ Ethnographers collect a variety of information through interviews: ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ Behavioral data Opinions Feelings Knowledge Sensory data Background information Interviewing ◼ The following factors collectively generate a unique situation for each ethnographic interview: ◼ ◼ ◼ Specific evaluation situation Requirements of the interviewee Personal style of the interviewer Interviewing ◼ Therein lie the challenges of depth interviewing: ◼ ◼ Situational responsiveness Sensitivity to get the best data possible Use of Questions in Interviewing ◼ ◼ ◼ Ethnographers often think and plan ahead of time how different types of questions can be most appropriately sequence of each interview topic, including past, present, and future-related questions They ask open-ended, clear questions, one question at a time, using comprehensible and appropriate language while avoiding leading questions They use probes and follow up questions to solicit depth and detail Use of Questions in Interviewing ◼ ◼ Ethnographers are particular about communicating clearly what information is desired, and why that information is salient. Moreover, they let the interviewee know how the interview is progressing They listen attentively and respond appropriately to let the informant know s/he is being heard. This is specially helpful in establishing a personal rapport and a sense of mutual interest Use of Questions in Interviewing ◼ ◼ Ethnographers are clearly aware of the difference between a depth interview and an interrogation. Qualitative evaluators such as ethnographers conduct depth interviews whereas police investigators, tax auditors, and the likes conduct interrogations. Production of Ethnographic Monographs ◼ ◼ While conducting fieldwork: keeping formal field notes maintenance of a personal diary After completing fieldwork: analysis and interpretation of data writing ethnographic accounts Analysis and Interpretation of Data ◼ Process of analysis and interpretation of ethnographic data involve: ◼ ◼ ◼ Disciplined examination Creative insight and Careful attention to the ethnographic research Analysis ◼ ◼ ◼ Process of bringing order to ethnographic data, assembling and organizing them into patterns, categories, and fundamental descriptive units This process involves consideration of words, tone, context, non-verbal codes, internal consistency, frequency, extensiveness, specificity of responses and big ideas In analysis, data reduction strategies become truly essential (Krueger, 1994) Interpretation ◼ ◼ ◼ Attaching meaning and significance to analysis Explaining descriptive patterns Looking for possible links among descriptive dimensions Doing Fieldwork ◼ Fieldwork is an ongoing, multifaceted research experience. ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ ◼ Choosing a Problem and Site Obtaining Funding Doing Preliminary Research Arrival and Culture Shock Choosing a Place to Live Working in an Unfamiliar Language Gathering Data Interpreting and Reporting Data Earlier Ethnographic Styles ◼ Detached-observer-oriented, objective ethnographies. This was the style that dominated “classic” ethnographies. These ethnographies were written at a time when practicing salvage ethnography (belief that the ethnographer’s job is to study and record cultural diversity threatened by Westernization) and attempts of authoritatively describing cultures seemingly frozen in the ethnographic present (the time before Westernization, when the “true” native culture flourished) were the norm. Contemporary Ethnographic Styles ◼ ◼ Reflexive ethnography (putting in the text ethnographer’s own feelings and reactions to field situations) Dialogic ethnography (writing ethnographies with a multitude of voices) Ethnographic Fieldwork: Malinowski Among the Trobriand Islanders (1922) Ethnographic Fieldwork: Margaret Mead in Samoa (1925) Ethnographic Fieldwork: Chagnon Among the Yanomamo (1964) Ethnographic Fieldwork: the Marshall Family Among the !Kung in Kalahari, Africa (1955) Contemporary Ethnography ...
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