lec03.0112 - Anthropology 101 Lecture 03 Fieldwork in...

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Anthropology 101 01.13.10 Lecture 03 Fieldwork in Ethnography I. Fieldwork: methods in Ethnology A. Anthropology's distinct methods follow from what it is as a discipline: the study of the human condition 1. Ask yourself how you can best understand another person : You can ask another person about them : You can ask another person to ask some questions of that person and report back to you : You can ask that person a set of prepared questions yourself : You can hang out with that person and watch her in different situations, join her in what she does, laugh with her, cry with her 2. Anthropologists do all these things : An interest in the human condition means you are interested in every aspect of a people's life : The holistic orientation means that you think that there is nothing that is irrelevant--everything is particularly connected B. So how do we proceed? If everything is relevant then does that mean that we have to do everything? 1. In the past, anthropologists tried to do something like this: descriptive ethnographies : Notes & Queries on anthropology, for the Use of Travellers and Residents in Uncivilized Lands (1874) 2. But that isn't the style anymore--for one thing, nearly every kind of group has been studied, or at least something is known--there is no uncontacted group (in spite of the occasional report in the newspapers: the Tassaday, for example) 3. Anthropologists today usually begin with a research problem and that problem sets up the methods that they will use in a particular setting (the kinds of information they will focus on) C. Common ground in methods 1. An anthropological attitude: These people have value; they have something to teach me; their lives mean something, and make sense We suspend judgment for the purpose of understanding – we make use of a “generosity of spirit”
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Anthropology 101 01.13.10 Lecture 03 Fieldwork in Ethnography 2. A sense that we must "live with" not separate; we must enter into these lives --> Contrast the sociologist/economist in foreign research with the --> rapport 3. Living with: --> participant observation : acting : recording --> tools : life history : principal informants : genealogy --> analysis: the search for pattern emic etic 4. what it means to be human with other humans; what it means to be yourself an instrument for gathering information II. The motivations of the anthropologist – coming to know another culture (see McHugh) A. Motivations Think about the first chapter of McHugh’s book – take a look at the following parts and think about what they mean for the personal stories behind the ethnographer: Chapter 1, Reaching Tebas [themes: death, loss, rebirth] 1 “Why did I go there? It is hard to say. I was looking for a home. There had been so many gaps in my life, empty spaces. I wanted to go somewhere where I could start over and be knit together whole.” 3 “Gregory made ideas immanent. He presented them with irony and engaged them with
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2011 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Spring '08 term at University of Michigan.

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lec03.0112 - Anthropology 101 Lecture 03 Fieldwork in...

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