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USSY 266 - Midterm Paper

USSY 266 - Midterm Paper - AB Dr M USSY 266 Due...

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AB Dr. M USSY 266 Due Date 3/8/07 “Contrasting Views of Fieldwork in Social Anthropology” In his introduction to Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco , Paul Rabinow writes that the methodology of fieldwork in anthropology is integral and argues that “fieldwork” is seldom investigated in contemporary works by social scientists. Based off of this inference, Rabinow reflects throughout his book about his opinions and suggestions of what conducting fieldwork should be and how it is conducted. Although it is not mentioned in Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco , there are indeed several other social scientists who feel it is necessary (or have already) investigated the proceedings of fieldwork and have a contrast of opinions on fieldwork from Rabinow’s viewpoint. In “On Theories of Fieldwork and the Scientific Character of Social Anthropology,” I.C. Jarvie proposes his own theory on how fieldwork should function universally after depicting other viewpoints of fieldwork by the social science community. Firstly, Jarvie comments that fieldwork is viewed as a method of recording societies and cultures which are dying out (Jarvie 225). He explains that although this is important function of anthropology, it is not an absolute function. In his opinion, the purpose of anthropology is to be able to enhance our understanding of our own world. Jarvie believes that if fieldwork were only performed on endangered cultures, anthropology overall would not be a progressive social science (Jarvie 225).
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Secondly, Jarvie demonstrates that the purpose and result of fieldwork are not to lessen cultural bias. According to Jarvie, ethnocentric bias “is the unarticulated assumption that the outlook and way of life of your own culture is ‘normal’ and every other pattern is deviant” (Jarvie 226). Jarvie explains that anthropology is a comparison of the behavior and social contexts of other people with our own behavior and social context (Jarvie 227). This manner of anthropological depiction is used in order to provide reasoning for the behaviors of foreign culture and suggests that the acceptable “improvements” of one culture mean that the target culture assimilates the behavior of the anthropologists “normal” culture. Jarvie explains that anthropology and fieldwork
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