Anthro Paper 1 - QUESTION 1

Anthro Paper 1 - QUESTION 1 - Laura Hyde Friday ANTHRCUL...

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Friday, October 17, 2008 ANTHRCUL 101: [033] Sheets First Paper – Question 1 Looking Through Different Eyes In order to truly understand someone, one must look at the world through his or her eyes. Since the job of an ethnographer is to better understand humans in other cultures, several methods have been devised to better understand the people in the culture that is being researched. According to anthropologist Conrad Kottak, “ethnographers draw on a variety of techniques to piece together a picture of otherwise alien lifestyles” (Kottak 2008: 263). In At Home in the Street , Tobias Hecht, an anthropologist studying the culture of street children in northeastern Brazil, describes three methods he employs to better understand the mentality of the children he is studying. The first of these methods involves using a recorder to document the stories and thoughts of the children, the second involves informal, structured interviews with the children, and the third involves Hecht mingling with the children while they were going about their day- to-day activities. Each of these approaches gave Hecht a better understanding about a different aspect of the culture of the street children. During his research, Hecht discovered that his method of learning about the children influenced the responses of the children. His findings were also influenced by the children’s opinions of him, as an outsider and researcher. While conducting his research in Brazil, Hecht formed friendships with some of the residents in northeastern Brazil, and encountered two major ethical dilemmas revolving around where he should draw the line between an ethnographer and a friend. The information Tobias Hecht gathers during his time in Brazil is heavily influenced by the method he uses to acquire the information, and the children’s outlook on him as an outsider and anthropologist. The first method that Hecht employed to learn about the culture of the
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This note was uploaded on 10/14/2009 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Spring '08 term at University of Michigan.

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Anthro Paper 1 - QUESTION 1 - Laura Hyde Friday ANTHRCUL...

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