Anthropology assignment

timer Asked: Oct 17th, 2018
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Question Description

ANTH 1100 Culture and Society

Assignment #2

Life History

Format: 500-600 words typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, 1” margins.


For this assignment you are to interview an older relative.You are to ask them questions about the culture (vaguely defined, this could be anything from a particular country to a particular neighborhood to a particular linguistic group…etc) they grew up in.I highly encourage you to talk to an older relative.The information you get will be rich, and full of historical events.If you do not have a family member that you can talk to, try to talk to someone (again preferably older) that you consider kin or close as kin.

You are to conduct an interview or two that is about 2 hours in length that focuses on cultural transformation they have encountered (again vaguely defined: common themes below).Take notes or record the interview or both.After the interview, you are to a write 500-600 word narrative of their experience.Do not give me a transcription of the interview, but rather a telling of events from the interlocutor’s perspective, written in the third-person. This is a practice in representation. This assignment must be typed, double-spaced with 1” margins.

Suggestions for Approach

Anthropology is an inductive in its methodology; we attempt to look at our interlocutors’ (research participants’) own categories.This is to say, we take an individual’s experience serious when analyzing a set of questions in which our participants have important experience with.While we may not agree with everything a participant says, and they may not agree with our analysis, a good ethnographer needs to be able to walk the fine line that both represents difference, while still finding conclusions to problems they search answers for.This assignment is meant as an introduction to one method in which we attempt to do this.

For those of you who do not know exactly what you want to ask your interlocutor about, you can begin with exploratory questions about their life, to find a particular event, experience, or witnessed change that you wish to continue your interview with.You may wish to break your interview into two parts.One exploratory, and one with questions formulated based on the initial interview.

For those of you who know what you want to focus your questions around, you may also want to still be exploratory throughout the interview.Perhaps your interlocutor uses a particular phrase, or refers to a particular event in a particular way that is noticeable, this can mean there is symbolic meaning to unpack.You may want to follow-up with questions around these meaningful references.

In either of these cases, have a list of interview questions, but you do not need to be rigid in the order or wording.Make it both an interview and a conversation.

A certain tradition:

For example you may describe a celebration, ritual or holiday from your own culture (nationality, ethnicity, religion, etc.). Explain the event or practice in detail, assuming your reader has no prior knowledge of your culture. When does the event occur? Who participates and in what roles? What is the meaning of the event or ritual? What reasons do people give for participating in the event or ritual? Do you see the practice as serving any social purpose, such as reinforcing group solidarity or identity, confirming social roles and/or social status, expressing tensions or emotions that don’t normally receive an outlet, etc? (Think beyond these examples to find your own reasons, and be sure to phrase any conclusions as hypotheses, rather than facts!)

Kinship and family:

Who is responsible for the care and education of children? Who is responsible for the care of elders? Who lives together in a household (nuclear family, grandparents, etc)? Who has authority over whom? Who shares property? Who inherits property? Do different types of relatives have different types of relationships (joking, intimate, distant, respectful, etc.)? How has kinship your family changed over the last few generations (e.g. changes in the types of marriages, attitude towards marriage and divorce or attitude toward children, patterns in the number of children each parent has, the way hierarchy and authority are distributed, the way obligation is distributed)?


Interview a family member who immigrated to the United States from another country. Write an essay about their experiences interacting with or adapting to American culture. Why did your interviewee come to the United States? Did they experience “culture shock”? If so, in what situations and how did they resolve it? Are they part of an immigrant community that shares their cultural background? What obstacles did your interviewee encounter? Are there any areas of social life that posed particular problems (e.g. medical care, religious practice, the legal system, economic activities, etiquette, values)?

Do they do anything to maintain their cultural identity and traditions? In what ways do they encourage younger generations to retain their cultural heritage and/or adapt to American culture? What can you learn about “culture” and culture change from the experiences of the person you interview?

Tutor Answer

School: Purdue University



Family and Kinship in Gothenburg Sweden
Student’s Name
Professor’s Name




Family and Kinship in Gothenburg Sweden
For this interview, I spoke to my relative who spent a large part of his life in Sweden. She
visits New York frequently and often visits me. The family has historically been the basic social
unit in the Swedish society. Historically, extended families were common locally in Gothenburg
and even generally in the overall Swedish culture. A traditional extended family in Sweden
comprised of grandparents, parents, and children. This has however changed since older children
no longer stay with the old parents. The nuclear families are n...

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awesome work thanks

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