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Anthro Reading

Anthro Reading - rallenges ratis CulWorking very real Ito...

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rallenges rat is Cul- Working very real Ito famil- :ondition rr a short ure shock narrative ,r the last togy Mat- pologists as is the .er habits rology to lers may ring mall he habits , and also mporary research, .),Peoples , Toronto: Iture: The R.B. Lee, Thomson rey order ng (Eds.), ons, Inc. r the prai- rk: Simon CHAPTER ONE What arethe Challenges in Ethnographic Fieldwork? I ntrod uction Fieldwork is a humbling experience. This statement, admitted by so many anthropologists, holds true today as much as it did 5o years ago. KEY TERMS, rite of Anthropologists are seldom fully prepared for what they encounter passage, ethnographer, in the field, and the onslaught of new sights, sounds, and smells can fieldwork, socio-cultural be overwhelming. Despite the romantic images some people have of anthropology, qualitative the work is tedious and fraught with frustrations, culture research, quantitative shock. and loneliness. key informants, is often called a RITE oF passecn-the time when an gender, ethics, ethnography anthropologist learns to survive in a foreign environment, and in the process learns to face the personal and moral challenges of fieldwork. In this chapter we will address some of these challenges using anecdotal accounts from "seasoned" anthropologists who have spent considerable time in the field. As anthropologists struggle to understand the many nuances and meanings attached to the daily lives of their study group, they are also learning a great deal about their own ideals and cultural upbringing. This learning process will also be considered.
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Fieldwork is best described as the ultimate learning expe- rience, you begin like a child and gradually absorb knowledge-and wisdom insight il all goes well- which matures in eyes of your teachers and, ideally, wins their approval .. . the good things have heavily out- weighed bad. Anth ropologist Robert Tonkinson (1991' 18) Anthropologists and Fieldwork Anthropologists and fieldwork go hand in hand. The field anthropolo- gist, also known as an ETHNoGRAPHER, is a stranger in a strange place. Unaware of the local customs and expected behaviour, an ethnographer lives in constant fear of behaving inappropriately, and embarrassing him or herself and others, despite the best of intentions. This is what Annette Weiner encountered early in her fieldwork with the Kiriwini culture of the Trobrianders of New Guinea. While learning the val- ues and norms of the Kiriwina, she also had to let go of her cultural assumptions about work, power, death, family, and friends. According to Weiner (:987 l, "Walking into a village at the beginning of fieldwork is entering a world without cultural guideposts." Anthropologists must learn to be flexible, adaptable, and creative. In other words, anthro- pologists must learn "to go with the flow." Fieldwork is a journey of discovery for the anthropologist, not only about the cultural group in question, but personally. According to James Clifford (tSS) "sojourning somewhere else, learning a language, putting oneself in odd situations and trying to figure them out can
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