Ethnography in an Ethnic Grocery Store
ITALIAN AND JEWISH DELI'S DO NOT COUNT...THESE STORES ARE CONSIDERED
MORE MAIN STREAM AMERICAN AND USUALLY ARE NOT IN BUSINESS TO CATER
TO A SPECIFIC ETHNIC POPULATION
This assignment is an introduction into ethnographic research. The purpose of this project is to
teach you to start thinking anthropologically. You will stop, look, listen, and observe. This
exercise will help you begin to understand the cultural lens through which this ethnic group in
this community sees the world. You will pay attention to your surroundings; this includes the
store, employees, and customers.
Find a food store that caters to an identifiable ethnic or minority group. The fact that the person
behind the counter of a food store is from an ethnic group other than your own does not qualify
the store as an ethnic grocery store.
If you cannot visit a brick and mortor store you may find an online ethnic grocery store and adapt
the questions to write your story.
Paper Format – Images are mandatory – Minimum of 3 Images
A. This report is to done in an ESSAY FORMAT. As you answer the questions below you
will have the information needed to write this paper in an essay format.
B. A COVER SHEET IS MANDATORY, points will be taken off if no cover sheet is sent
with the document. It is easier to keep track of so many papers if a cover sheet is
attached. On the cover sheet include your name, date, and the name and address of the
C. Please number your pages and write your name or initials on each page.
D. Your report will be a minimum of 3 pages and maximum of 4 pages, with minimum of 4
images – photos - 12 font, double spaced, in word document format, uploaded to the
Dropbox. As always, back everything up so you always have a copy.
E. The paper is a minimum of 3 pages but if you expect an "A" for the assignment, a word
to the wise, not everyone can nail an "A" in 2 pages, some can-most cannot.
F. There are many questions below – weave a story from the answers to these questions. DO
NOT write a paper in a question and answer format. Tell a story, write an essay and
weave photos throughout the essay.
1. Include the name and address of the food store and the specific ethnic or minority group the
store caters to on the cover sheet.
2. Describe the inside of the store, the contents and the layout. Description is fine; it is a bit
difficult to send a sketched map via electronic communication.
3. Describe how the food is categorized, are the vegetables or fruits where you think they should
be. Did you find food in places you would never find them in a typical American grocery store?
4. Does the store sell things that are not normally found at your local store?
5. What are some of the items that are desired by this ethnic group?
6. Did you sample or buy any food items you do not normally buy? How did it taste?
7. Are services available at this store that are not normally available at your local store? Are
services such as Western Union wire transfers or help with setting up phone services or phone
card purchases available?
8. If other services are available, why do you think this specific place supplies these services?
9. Notice the interaction between the customers and the employees. Is the interaction any
different from what you may expect, is it the same?
10. Describe how you went about the assignment, who you talked to and your over-all
11. Provide a description of the primary customers - do they represent a specific cultural group
or is a mix? Who is included in the mix, what is your best guess?
12. Are holiday foods or religious items available for purchase?
13. Tell us about the ethnic group highlighted in this paper. Do you know of how this group
came to live in this area? Is there an immigration story that would give an understanding to this
group living in this geographical area.
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